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In this short essay, Hilton Als talks about the transformation of Michael Jackson from the start of his career to his end. Als comments about sexuality and identity through the life of Michael Jackson, two topics that are part of Jackson’s identity throughout his life. In this case, he presents Jackson as a metaphor for ostracization. Als is shedding light on a controversial subject dealing with queer black men by talking about Jackson’s image through a mixture of biography and critiquing. At the same time, Jackson himself is described as being ostracized by the ostracized group of gay black men for being a “white girl.” Als calls Jackson a white girl, possibly because of the bold and vivacious way in which he constructs his image.¬†Als gives examples such as a quote by James Baldwin where he talks about the existence of freaks and their treatment by the general population because they “echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires” (Als 183). Therefore, Michael is considered a ‘freak’ because of not only his physical imagery but also of his lyrics. His lyrics which suggests a kind of queerness in its wording are there in Als’s essay to introduce to us that Jackson has no qualms about ‘coming out.’ Nor does he exhibit some type of embarrassment when he is called a white woman by the gay black community. Als ends the essay with a comparison between Jackson and Prince. Unlike Jackson however, Prince hides his femininity side through adapting into a female persona named Camille. This further exemplifies the issues of being a queer and black feminine man.

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