What do white people think when Blacks whiten themselves and integrate weaves with their natural hair? Is it something that deserves a quite smug, pity or indifference? In the British Sunday Times 20.2.11, the journalist, Rod Liddle, remarked on the fact that the singer Beyoncé seemed to be getting whiter and blonder. He even admitted that he preferred Beyoncé’s ‘look’ to how she were some years ago, and said it ‘suited’ her much better than the late Michael Jackson. But he tried hard to limit the damage by wondering why anyone would want to be white at this time – as if he doesn’t really understand!
He should know as the astute observer that he is, that for a lot of us, it is sad and embarrassing that Black women probably feel that they cannot go out on the street unless there is some sort of weave or wig on top of their head; unless our skin tone looks like honey, and for those of us who relax our hair, that we pray it doesn’t rain. Praising Beyoncé for how she looks does wonders for the rest of us.
Why has Obama spoken briefly about the death of MJ? Could it be there are more pressing problems with the riots in Iran or the kidnapping of the president in Honduras? Yeah, well we know he has to pay attention on these urgent and important matters. But my family and friends debate if Obama, although being fifty percent white, prides himself as ‘Black’ would therefore find MJ’s (who is 100% black) personal contempt of his own ‘blackness’ unpalatable. How, then can the first Black premier of the West stand side by side with another Black premier of the pop world when they do not have anything in common when it comes to identity.
I grew up with this man. I danced alone, daily, in my front room to ‘Looking through the Window’; I wanna go where you are; I want you back and other popular Jackson 5 hits. We communicated daily: he sang and I listened and danced. For a few years I didn’t hear from him but it didn’t matter as I still played his singles and albums as I knew he would contact me. And then he did. He was loyal as he was the kind of person not to let me down. He released Thriller and Bad, and I was proud, so grateful each time I listened to these masterpieces. His music was comforting, supportive – a friend even, never disappointing but was so uplifting and stirring. When I learned of his death strangely enough I wanted to visit my blog on WordPress, and then I saw the Yahoo headline – Michael Jackson dies. I quickly turned on the TV and switched to CNN; Sky and BBC and they were all reporting this total shock. I wake my husband (we are also 50), speak to my brother and call my son and we all just simply cannot believe it.
I don’t care what the man did in his later life as the controversy that surrounded him can never, ever erase the way he made me feel so important in my front room. I thank you Michael for being my friend.