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When We Were Free to BeLooking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made$
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Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807837238

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807837559_rotskoff

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When Michael Jackson Grew Up: A Mother's Reflections on Race, Pop Culture, and Self-Acceptance

When Michael Jackson Grew Up: A Mother's Reflections on Race, Pop Culture, and Self-Acceptance

Chapter:
(p.207) When Michael Jackson Grew Up: A Mother's Reflections on Race, Pop Culture, and Self-Acceptance
Source:
When We Were Free to Be
Author(s):

Deesha Philyaw

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807837559_rotskoff.29

This chapter describes how the author does not want to debate whether or not Michael Jackson's skin changes were attributed to vitiligo, as he claimed publicly. The author also does not want to conjecture as to how Jackson specifically felt about being black. According to some reports, Jackson underwent surgery after surgery to remove all traces of resemblance to his abusive father. Regardless of his motivation, the author can safely make the point that Jackson did not grow up to like what he looked like. Jackson underwent dozens of appearance-altering procedures that had nothing to do with medical necessity—among them, rhinoplasty, cheek implants, and the remodeling of his jaw. In one of the last pictures taken of him prior to his death in June 2009, the outer ring of one of his ears was missing, likely the result of having the skin and cartilage removed to rebuild his nose after it was damaged by repeated surgeries.

Keywords:   Michael Jackson, skin changes, vitiligo, being black, abusive father, appearance-altering procedures

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