Part 1: Can You Feel It?

Willa: Hello everyone. I wanted to let you know that I’ve written a four-part series of essays about how Michael Jackson fought racial prejudice in psychologically complex ways by challenging the sensations of racism. Part 1 was just published on Here’s a link.

The other three essays will be published weekly, with the final one going up August 29th, Michael Jackson’s birthday.

Some of these ideas will be familiar to longtime readers. In fact, in some ways this series of essays is a culmination of many of the things we’ve talked about for the past nine years. I have learned so much from our conversations, and I wanted to thank all of you for participating and generously sharing your knowledge and insights.

I hope you are all safe and well.


About Dancing with the Elephant contributors

Joie Collins is a founding member of the Michael Jackson Fan Club (MJFC). She has written extensively for MJFC, helping to create the original website back in 1999 and overseeing both the News and History sections of the website. Over the years she conducted numerous interviews on behalf of MJFC and also directed correspondence for the club. She also had the great fortune to be a guest at Neverland. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was three years old. Lisha McDuff is a classically trained professional musician who for 30 years made her living as a flutist, performing in orchestras and for major theatrical touring productions. Her passion for popular musicology led her to temporarily leave the orchestra pit and in June 2013 she received a Master’s degree in Popular Music Studies from the University of Liverpool. She’s continuing her studies at McMaster University, where she is working on a major research project about Michael Jackson, with Susan Fast as her director. Willa Stillwater is the author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance and "Rereading Michael Jackson," an article that summarizes some of the central ideas of M Poetica. She has a Ph.D. in English literature, and her doctoral research focused on the ways in which cultural narratives (such as racism) are made real for us by being "written" on our bodies. She sees this concept as an important element of Michael Jackson's work, part of what he called social conditioning. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was nine years old.

Posted on August 8, 2020, in Michael Jackson and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hi Willa, so happy to learn about these essays! Really look forward to reading! Have been meaning to write you. Will try to be in touch soon! Hope you are safe and well, too! Take care!

  2. Hi Willa,
    Thanks so much for posting this! I look forward to reading this series, and I’d also love to be in touch. I’ll try to write soon.

  3. So excited to read your essays coming up-hope all is well with everyone.

  4. Dear Marie, Nina, and Sunny. It’s so great to hear from you! The break from posting has been important I think – a time of re-evaluation – but I’ve really missed the wonderful in-depth discussions we used to have. Lisha and I have a lot of things we’d like to talk about and explore, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. You always bring such interesting insights to the discussion. Hope you all are doing well.

  5. Harriet Manning

    Thank you, Willa, for such a sensitive and nuanced discussion. I hope readers make their way over to Medium. I’m looking forward to the next instalments in this series.

  6. Thanks so much. Love your stuff!

    Sent from my iPad


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