Michael
sound installation with custom real-time audio processing software, microphone, photo lights, clamp lamp, and ink on a paper bag
2014

The “King of pop” and the celebrity whose racial identifications troubled conversations of belonging, Michael Jackson epitomized multiculturalist perspectives of race in the 1990’s. Setting the tone for public discourses on race with his smash hit “Black or White”, Jackson became the voice of color-blind ideologies and opened the conversations of racial equality. Then in 1995, his song “They don’t really care about us” set off an emotional response accusing him of being anti-Semitic with his lyrics. Shortly after, Jackson issued a statement in the New York Times in which he proclaimed the complexities of his identifications, namely, that he was the oppressor and the oppressed. A star constantly in the limelight and the center of much racial controversy, Jackson became a perfect subject to highlight the complexities of racial passing, performances of the voice, and racialized stereotypes that permeated public consciousness of his time.