Episode 1 – Was Michael Jackson an Artist?

Abstract: In this first ever episode of Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On: An Academic Conversation, Karin and Elizabeth discuss Michael Jackson’s 1991 Black or White short film, directed by John Landis, who was also the director of the Thriller short film. The discussion of Jackson’s ‘Panther Dance’, also known as the ‘Coda’, leads into a conversation on whether or not the Black or White short film is art and whether Michael Jackson himself can really be considered an artist.


REFERENCE AS:

Merx, Karin, and Elizabeth Amisu. “Episode 1 – Was Michael Jackson an Artist?”, Podcast, Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On: An Academic Conversation 1, no. 4 (2016). Published electronically 29/06/15. http://michaeljacksonstudies.org/the-dream-lives-on-an-academic-conversation/.


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Episode 1 – Was Michael Jackson an Artist?
By Karin Merx & Elizabeth Amisu


‘Michael would put very complex compositions, very complex, challenging cinematography in his short films, and he put them in a mass context… he put them in a public context. And there’s nothing more democratic than television.’
– Elizabeth Amisu


Black or White (Banned Version): https://youtu.be/7u-AqaLwuA8


All Our References and Where to Easily Find Them
1. ‘The Panther Dance’ in Black or White, dir. John Landis (1991).
2. Joseph Vogel, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. Sterling, 2011.
3. Joseph Vogel, ““I Ain’t Scared of No Sheets”: Re-Screening Black Masculinity in Michael Jackson’s Black or White.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 27, no. 1 (2015): 90-123.
4. Singin’ in the Raindir. Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen (1952).
5. Do the Right Thingdir. Spike Lee (1989).
6. Who were the Black Panthers?
7. Susan Fast, Dangerous. London: Bloomsbury, 2014. Chapter 3 – ‘Utopia’, p. 71-96.
8. Karin’s academic review of Susan Fast’s book, Dangerous can be found here.
9. Philosopher, Alain de Botton asks, What is Art for?


Karin Merx BMus, MA, is editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies, and author of  ‘A festive parade of highlights. La Grande Parade as evaluation of the museum policy of Edy De Wilde at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam’. Find out more about Karin here.

Elizabeth Amisu, PGCE, MA, is editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies and author of The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic AfterlifeFind out more about Elizabeth here.


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