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Michael Jackson’s Family “Incredibly Offended” By “Shameful” Portrayal in Urban Myths

"I'm a black American. I'm proud to be a black American." - Michael Jackson in 1993

As to be expected, Michael Jackson’s family was not pleased with the pop singer’s portrayal in the Sky Arts series, Urban Myths. The show centers on a number of Hollywood stories that may or may not be true. Jackson’s episode is all about an alleged trip he took with close friend Liz Taylor and Marlon Brando just after 9/11.

While Stockard Channing was pretty much born to play Taylor and Brian Cox’s Brando is passable, Joseph Fiennes’ Jackson is a completely different story. The problem here is that not only is a white actor playing a black man with a skin condition, the awful prosthetic used comes across as mockery rather than tribute.

When asked about the show’s portrayal of both her father and godmother, Paris Jackson had plenty to say.

Michael’s nephew Taj Jackson also chimed in.

I don’t think people realize just how offensive this portrayal is. For one, Michael Jackson was black and proud to be so. He suffered from a condition called Vitiligo, which removed the pigment from his skin, and he used makeup to even it out. Oprah once described him as “translucent,” saying that she could see right through to his veins.

It’s something he couldn’t change but that didn’t stop people from speculating about whether or not he wanted to be white. It’s a sensitive topic that I’m sure brought him a lot of pain. But he was not self-hating with regard to his race, and even stated in 1993 that he did not want a white actor to play him when those rumors sprung up about his upcoming Pepsi commercial. See his response below:

Race is already a complicated thing and Michael’s condition created an even more nuanced situation than what we’re used to.  But even if you found him over the top or larger than life or want to argue that the show is supposed to be funny, it’s clear that not a lot of care was put into Fiennes’ portrayal.  It goes against his family’s wishes and likely his own, and this writer is definitely not here for the cartoonish figure they’ve plastered on the screen.  I will not be tuning in for the whole thing and neither should you.

(via The Daily Dot, image via screencap)

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