1. Consider Michael Jackson’s performances of the other worldly and the monstrous. To what extent did these performances implicitly comment on and critique race in the United States?

This assessment task builds on the information you gathered for your annotated bibliography and requires you to map your research paper. It requires you to identify/pose research questions about your topic, and discuss how you will answer your question. Your proposal should include:
1. The question you will answer
2. Identify research questions and possible answers: what smaller questions do you need to answer in order to answer your big question? What hypothetical answers have you formed based on your research? (1-3 paragraphs)
3. A brief analysis of the literature relating to your topic. This should include: major debates, agreement and disagreement amongst scholars, absences in the literature if there are any, different approaches and methods (2-3 paragraphs)
4. An annotated bibliography. This should include the annotated bibliography you have already submitted, as well as additional sources you have found or been recommended.
To answer the second part of the prompt, make a list of questions that you’ll need to answer in order to get at the big question. What things will you need to make sure that you’re including? By asking yourself these questions you can help to guide your research and also have a sense of where you’re going with your essay.


  1. The Race issues as presented in Michael Jacksons performances
  2. Annotated Bibliography
  3. Primary sources


Michael Jackson, “Thriller,” Thriller, Epic, 1982. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA

  • The single broke the racial divide and was an inspiration for future African-American musical stars. It was metaphorical for the racially divided society which viewed African Americans with prejudice and thus Michael becomes the tormentor making them uncomfortable with the prejudice.

Michael Jackson, “Billie jean,” Thriller, Epic, 1982 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi_XLOBDo_Y

  • In the Billie jean single, Michael is depicted as an obsession for women. In lyrics, it delivers a strong hidden message that perhaps implied that he could not be drawn to submission by racial prejudices and restrictions.


Connely, C., 1983. Michael Jackson: Thriller. [Online] Available at: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/thriller-19830128 [Accessed Wednesday August 2017].

  • Michael delivered the thriller compositions in an obsessive sound that complemented the lyrics that had put the talented singer on the defensive. The way he put through hit singles ensured that their up-tempo did not obscure the harrowing dark messages.

Stevenson, R. W., 1991. Pop music; ‘Thriller,’ Can Michael Jackson Beat It?. [Online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/10/arts/pop-music-thriller-can-michael-jackson-beat-it.html?pagewanted=all [Accessed 16 August 2017].

  • Analyzes the hype of the thriller album and whether the expectations will be met in the upcoming release of another album. In the thriller, Michael revolutionized music with a mix of rock, funk and disco in a way that defied categorization.

Kobena, Mercer, “Monster Metaphors: Notes on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller,’” Screen. Vol. 27, no.1 (1986): 26-43.

  • Argues the underlying racial presentations of metaphors and symbolism contained in thriller. He is described as a black star who transcends the boundaries of race and who appeals to audiences of all backgrounds.


  1. Secondary Sources.

Rolling Stone, n.d. Michael Jackson Bio. [Online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/10/arts/pop-music-thriller-can-michael-jackson-beat-it.html?pagewanted=all [Accessed 16 August 2017].

  • Explains the musical success of Michael Jackson stating that his accomplishments in the adult years will never be eclipsed. His achievements made the world to acknowledge that he can be black and yet be the greatest pop musician, and broke the racial barriers.


Jackson, M., 1988. Moonwalk. 1st ed. New York: Doubleday.

  • Narrates Jackson in a candid look of his phenomenal music career, dreams, his pain of isolation and fame. The book delivers the musical journey and especially the deep messages of racial harmony in album thriller and many other compositions.


Alban, D., 2009. Michael Jackson broke down racial barriers. [Online] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/28/michael.jackson.black.community/
[Accessed 16 June 2017].

  • Explains Michael Jackson broke the racial barriers in his music career. It asserts that he never turned back on his blackness artistically and aesthetically and that his work was entrenched with black people culture in the United States and globally.

The Telegraph, 2009. Michael Jackson’s Thriller: pioneering album that broke down racial barriers in music industry. [Online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/michael-jackson/5643920/Michael-Jacksons-Thriller-pioneering-album-that-broke-down-racial-barriers-in-music-industry.html [Accessed 16 August 2017].

  • Describes the thriller album as the one that made him the undisputed king of pop music. It further became the pioneering album that broke down the traditional racial barriers that existed in music for a long time




Carvell, Wallace. “The Two Lives of Michael Jackson,” New Yorker, November 25, 2015.

  • Carvell traces the rise of Michael Jackson and the struggles he went through during his youthful years. His transformation from a nervous child to a black, young and talented music star made him a victim of adoration. On race issues, the article presents Michael’s relationship with blackness as complex, but also proud with his skin color.

Geogre, N. (2010). Thrillier: the musical life of Michael Jackson. New York, Da Capo Press. [Online] Available at: http://www.aspresolver.com/aspresolver.asp?AAMR;1681894. [Accessed 20 August 2017.]

George emphasized his push for the repect of Blacks by the oter races in the US and how it was visible through his uniquely monstrous performance. Therefore, to some extent it brought a sense of repect among different races.

Mercer, K. (1986). Monster Metapohrs: Notes on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. In Zoot Suits and Second-Hand Dresses pp.50-73. Palgrave Macmillian UK.

Describes the rise of young African-American musician at a time when racial discrimination was largely practiced. He surprassed all the racial discrimination barriers to appear on the television shows and his music played in radio stations considered only for music from whites only.

Jackson, M. (2012) between one and one another EBL Berkeley, University of California Press.[Online] Available at: http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=816158. [Accessed 22 August 2017.]

Jackson felt that there was need to acknowledge the Blacks’ innovative minds and that all the glory would not only go to the White people but also the Black.

Taraborrelli, J. R. (2010). Michael Jackson: the magic, the madness, the whole story, 1958-2009.

Understand the Mystery of Michael Jackson’s personality and social behavior. Some misunderstanding choices made people to question about his acceptance as a Black person even though the claimed to be proud of his race.

Vogel, J (2011). Man in the music: the creative life and work of Michael Jackson. New York, Sterling.

Vogel speaks highly of Jackson for letting us know people do not care about a celebrity’s behavior but rather his image. It is high time that people should attach celebrities behaviors to their successes so that they would try to do things right and set a good example of that people expect of them.

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