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“They Don't Care About Us”: Michael Jackson's Black Nationalism

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This article examines the presence of black nationalist ideals in Michael Jackson's work, with a focus on the song “They Don't Care About Us.” Through a contextualized reading that encompasses Jackson's struggle for self-empowerment following the 1993 child abuse controversy, it shows how he uses both music and video to cultivate a radical ideological allegiance with the greater social plight of black Americans. Jackson's position is revealed as both compelling and conflicted, whereby his work betrays the influence of a deep trajectory of politicized African-American music, but also raises questions of the wider distinction between fixed racial solidarity and postmodern subjectivity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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