Part 2: Are You Scared Yet?

Willa:  Hello friends. I wanted to let you know that Part 2 of the series has just been published! This essay looks at some of Jackson’s important early work, including Thriller, to discover how he addressed and to some extent neutralized white fears of black men. It also looks at the apparent changing color of his skin, one of his most powerful and most transgressive works of art. Here’s a link.

Again, many of these ideas will be familiar to long-time readers. I want to thank you again for helping to develop my thinking on these topics by sharing insights and information and by encouraging – and sometimes challenging – my ponderings. For example, my thoughts on his struggles with vitiligo, and how that eventually evolved into an important element of his art, have become much more nuanced because of our discussions.

I hope you all are healthy and doing 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 15, 2020, in Michael Jackson and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Willa, these series are great. Medium is a super place to post as well!!! Thanks for all your hard work opening up Michael’s true genius.

    • Thank you, Susan! Medium is really easy, and I’m hoping it will help me reach people who aren’t necessarily Michael Jackson fans. My only complaint is that the comments on Medium are each on a separate page, so it’s more difficult to follow a conversation thread and get a discussion going.

      So for that reason I’m pretty sure we’ll stick with WordPress for most of our posts. I love the discussions that happen after we publish a post! But it’s nice to have Medium as an option too, especially when we want to get the word out beyond the fan community.

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