Michael Jackson's Queer Musical Belongings
Abstract:Many of Jackson's performances can be read as queer, but his treatment of rock music is particularly so. Jackson appeared to use rock either to upset normative gendered and racialized codes or to exaggerate them in order to play with hegemonic power; as an “outsider” to the genre of rock music and as someone whose own performances of gender and race fit uneasily with the norms of rock, he used the genre to play, queerly, at and with convention, in the sound of his music, the narratives of some videos, and in live performances; especially significant is his choice of Jennifer Batten as lead guitarist. Jackson's queering of rock music may have equally, if not more, to do with race than with sexuality or gender (if, indeed, these can be untangled).
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2012