July 8, 2009
Posted: 02:38 PM ET
By Greg Braxton via Los Angeles Times
One of Michael Jackson's most famous lyrics proclaims, "It don't matter if you're black or white." But when it comes to the late singer's identification with African Americans, that declaration becomes much cloudier.
Jackson's massive popularity was continually shadowed by his evolving physical makeover from a dark-skinned boy with obvious ethnic features to a lighter-skinned man who had extensive plastic surgery on his face and nose, prompting concerns among African Americans and others that Jackson was trying to deny his heritage.
His high-profile relationships with white actresses, his marriages to Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe (who are both white) and suspicions that he wasn't in fact the biological father of his light-skinned children further divided African Americans. Some felt alienated by the singer's actions; others dismissed them as the acceptable eccentricities of a creative genius.
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