top of page

It don't matter if you're black or white

Black or White, a song by pop king Michael Jackson that was written in 1991, just years after segregation was outlawed, is still widely used in modern society. Despite the fact that blacks and whites had legal equality, social tension still existed between African Americans and white people. The song "Black or White" emphasizes the social inequities caused by racism in an effort to bring social equality in America. Being black, Michael Jackson had personal experience of racial tension. Jackson sings that it is irrelevant to him if his girl, "baby," is black or white.

Famous for his transformation as a black performer to light skin, Jackson suffered from a sever skin condition called vitiligo where he resorted to use of creams and medications in order to eliminate the appearance of the uneven toned patches on his skin. One could argue that Jackson should have embraced his skin rather than changing it but that is a topic of its own.

He raised up issues of injustice and racial discrimination for debate and made it possible for pop musicians to freely express themselves, particularly through imaginative music videos, lavish performances, and freedom in lyrics. Jackson travels the world while wearing contrasting black-and-white attire, seamlessly altering his dance skills to fit the local customs and culture. He performs as a sort of global magician alongside Africans, Native Americans, Thais, Indians, and Russians, seemingly trying to teach the White American Father the virtues of diversity and difference from his air bound position. The video's main section ends with the groundbreaking "morphing sequence," in which vivacious faces of different ethnicities meld into one another without any visible transitions.

This song discusses the problems that were prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s. Not only had the issue of blacks and whites divided at this time, but also the subject of humanism too was quite fragmented. Its lyrics refer to racial issues in contemporary culture. In the context of American social life in the late 1980s, Jackson was considering equality, tolerance, and respect for one another when he wrote this song. And Jackson demonstrates unity by eradicating disparities in race or ethnicity.

The video's main act concludes with a ground-breaking "morphing sequence," in which vivacious faces of different ethnicities meld into one another without any visible transition. The underlying message seemed to be that despite superficial differences, we are all members of the human family—individual but connected.

47 views5 comments


Agreed! Jackson's ability to seamlessly adapt his dance skills to fit different cultures and his inclusion of people from various ethnicities showcased the beauty of global diversity. The groundbreaking "morphing sequence" in the video, where faces of different ethnicities blended into one another, emphasized the underlying truth that we are all part of the human family, connected and united.

Beyond its reflection of racial issues, the song and video also touched upon the broader theme of humanism and the importance of embracing diversity. In an era where social divisions were prevalent, Jackson encouraged equality, tolerance, and respect for one another. He used his platform to challenge the fragmented nature of society and advocate for a world where individual differences are…


Love this! Diverse representation portrayals might perhaps fall victim to showing a certain race, gender or group of people as more deserving in society than their fellow members. This song manages to bring about not just a representation of certain people but humanity as a whole and is quite ahead of its time and even ours. The value of human life does not exceed another and it is truly beautiful how this song goes all out to make these cultural representations come to life. I remember seeing this when i was a child and I had never seen brown people represented as equals to all the other characters on screen and it felt so refreshing.


A very interesting read! this song proves to be an excellent choice for the blog as the way it uses media to promote messages of diversity, inclusion and tolerance is greatly relevant to what we have studied about media literacy so far and the messages of this song are applicable to our current times as well. The part where you mentioned about the "morphing sequence" struck me the most. The way all the ethnicities meld into one depicts that all of us, despite our nationalities and race are the same at the end of the day. At our core, all of us are just human before anything else. Linking this to our learning about media literacy, this one visual techniqu…


Thank you for sharing this insightful blog! You have brilliantly highlighted the timeless relevance of Michael Jackson's song 'Black or White,' which serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for social equality and the importance of embracing diversity. By addressing the social inequities caused by racism, the song encourages us to move beyond the confines of race and ethnicity, emphasizing that what truly matters is the content of our character. The inclusion of the groundbreaking 'morphing sequence' in the music video serves as a powerful visual representation of unity amidst diversity. It evokes the philosophical notion of interconnectedness, highlighting that despite our apparent differences, we are all interconnected members of the human family. In my opinion, the ability…


This was such a great read. It's amazing to think that even after all these years, the song continues to provoke thought and inspire discussions in our society. I really like how you highlighted the personal experiences of Michael Jackson, his struggles with vitiligo, and the significance of his transformation which adds a deeper layer of authenticity to the complex realities he faced and to his advocacy for social equality.

Also loved your description of the music video's "morphing sequence" which I also think serves as a visually striking metaphor for the underlying message of the song – that beyond our superficial differences, we are all interconnected as part of the same human family.

Also, I think you did an…

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page