156 Ibid., 12. 157 Ibid., 12. 158 Ibid., 12-13. 159 Ibid., 13.
62 “I’m Not Gonna Spend My Life Being a Color”: Transcending Racial Categories According to his biographers, the ambiguities surrounding Michael‟s racial identity grew increasingly complex in the 1990s. For instance, Andersen reports that Michael hired a presumably white Australian boy to play the child version of Michael in a 1993 Pepsi commercial. “To play the part,” Andersen writes, “the light -skinned [Wade] Robson put on an Afro wig, his skin color was darkened using computerized colorization, and a top artist was hired to superimpose the real Michael‟s childhood features over Robson‟s for the close-ups. The result: a younger Michael whose features seemed to correspond with the more delicate-boned, Kabuki- white Michael of 1993.” 160 Bob Jones claims a similar situation almost occurred during the filming of Michael‟s They Don’t Really Care About Us video when “Michael wanted to paint some middle class Italian kids and use them in the video. Director Spike Lee had to talk him out of it, telling the King that he‟d be run out of Rio if he did such a thing.” 161 In both accounts, Michael outright transgresses racial boundaries by altering the physical features of others, just as he did with his own appearance. 162 Similarly, Silke Milpauer, a German fan who met Michael in 1993, depicts Michael as sublime when she recalls her experience of Michael‟s physical features: “I was too mesmerized by his incredibly dark eyes which formed such a strong contrast to his fine, pale features. His complexion didn‟t seem to be that of a white person, but lighter than that . I have never seen anything comparable to this. His face was symmetric and smooth like 160 Andersen, Michael Jackson Unauthorized , 316. 161 Bob Jones and Stacy Brown, Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask (New York: Select Books, 2009), 54- 55. 162 In a slightly similar situation, Shaun Redfern recalls that his local newspaper wrote a front page, full-color feature on his experience of attending Michael‟s 1988 Bad tour. According to Redfern, the newspaper asked him to darken his skin “even though at the time everybody was going mad about Michael‟s skin going lighter. I enjoyed doing it as I hoped Michael Jackson would see it!” Redfern‟s experience provides another example of Michael inspiring others to transgress racial boundaries, though he does so less directly in this situation. Brigitte Bloemen, et al, It's All About
63 porcelain.” 163 By her account, Michael not only transcended racial boundaries, he exterminated them, and this struck her with a sense of awe and wonder. First the embodiment of blackness, then a hybrid of black and white, Michael now metamorphosed beyond any racial categorization whatsoever.
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