Michael Jackson Wiki
Michael Jackson Wiki
Black or White.png

Black or White is one of Michael Jackson's songs in the albums Dangerous and HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. This also has a rap performance by L. T. B. This song was released on April 2, 1992 and was recorded in 1987, 1990 and 1991. This song was written and produced by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell (Bill Bottrell wrote the rap lyrics).[1]

This song also features guitarist Slash for the introduction guitar. The music video of this song is copyrighted as "© 1991 MJJ Productions Inc."

Date: April 2, 1992

Recorded: May '1987 - March '1992


The opening guitar was first recorded at Michael Jackson's Encino home. "That piece of music, the beginning part that Slash plays on, was recorded at Michael's house," confirmed co-writer Bill Bottrell. "Michael asked me to dig it out of the vault in August of 1989. He had in mind to use it as the intro to Black or White - it took a long time before we got Slash on it."

"For me, the best thing about Black or White," said Bottrell, "was that his (Michael Jackson's) scratch vocal remained untouched throughout the next year (of work on Dangerous album), and ended up being used on the finished song."

Music video

The music video for "Black or White" premiered on [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV MTV], [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BET BET], [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VH1 VH1], and [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_Broadcasting_Company Fox] (giving them their highest [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen_ratings Nielsen ratings] ever at the time)[2] as well as the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC BBC]'s [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_of_the_Pops Top of the Pops] in the UK[3] on November 14, 1991.[4] Along with Jackson, it featured [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaulay_Culkin Macaulay Culkin], [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tess_Harper Tess Harper], [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyra_Banks Tyra Banks], and [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wendt George Wendt].[5] The video was directed by [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Landis John Landis], who previously directed [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson's_Thriller_(music_video) Thriller]. The music video was filmed from late September to early October 1991.[6] The dance scene with the Native Americans shown in the video was filmed at [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasquez_Rocks Vasquez Rocks] Natural Area Park in [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agua_Dulce,_California Agua Dulce, California].[6] The scene where Michael Jackson and the dancer appear on the freeway was filmed at 11779 Sheldon Street in [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Valley,_Los_Angeles Sun Valley, Los Angeles].[6][7]

It was co-choreographed by Jackson and Vincent Paterson. It premiered simultaneously in 27 countries, with an audience of 500 million viewers, the most ever for a music video.[4]


The first few minutes of the video feature an extended version of the song's intro. During this interlude (somewhat similar to Marty Callner's 1984 "[./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We're_Not_Gonna_Take_It_(Twisted_Sister_song) We're Not Gonna Take It]" video for Twisted Sister[8]), an 11-year-old boy ([./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaulay_Culkin Macaulay Culkin]) is dancing to rock music in his bedroom late at night. His bad-tempered father ([./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wendt George Wendt]) bursts into his room and yells at him to stop playing the music and go to sleep. After his father exits out and slams the door behind him (causing a Michael Jackson poster on the door to fall off and its glass frame to smash), the boy retaliates by setting up large speaker cabinets hooked up to an amplifier (with levels of "LOUD", "LOUDER", and "ARE YOU NUTS!?!", respectively; with the dial turned up all the way to "ARE YOU NUTS!?!") behind his father's reclining chair, wearing leather gloves and sunglasses, strapping on an Ernie Ball [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Man_(company) Music Man] [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Van_Halen EVH] signature model guitar and playing a [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_chord power chord], and telling the father to "Eat this!".[2] The sound then shatters and destroys the house windows and sends his father (seated in the chair) through the roof and halfway around the world, where the actual song begins.[2] The boy's mother ([./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tess_Harper Tess Harper]), suggests that his father will be very upset when he gets back. The album version of the song features neither Culkin's nor Wendt's voices; they are replaced by voiceover artists performing a similar intro. The boy's father crashes in Africa, and Jackson sings "Black or White", surrounded by different cultures scene-by-scene.[4]

The video shows scenes in which African Zulu hunters begin dancing by using moves from Southern African dance, with Jackson following their moves and them mirroring his; as do, in sequence, [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_in_Thailand traditional Thai dancers], [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Americans_in_the_United_States Plains Native Americans] (located at the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasquez_Rocks Vasquez Rocks] formation in California), a [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lankan_Tamils Sri Lankan Tamil] [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odissi Odissi] dancer[9] and a group of [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_culture Russians][2] (wearing [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_culture Ukrainian clothing] and dancing the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopak Hopak]), the final scene of which is contained in a [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowglobe snowglobe], which two babies (one white and one black) are playing with who then appear to be sitting on [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Earth planet Earth] in [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_space space]. Jackson then walks defiantly through visual collages of fire (declaring "I ain't scared of no sheets; I ain't scared of nobody"), referring to [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KKK KKK] torch ceremonies before a mock rap scene joined with Culkin and other children (including Michael's niece Brandi and [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wade_Robson Wade Robson]; as well as Mark Pugh and David Shelton of [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Another_Bad_Creation Another Bad Creation]).[4] The group collectively states, "I'm not gonna spend my life being a color." The final verse is performed by Jackson on a large sculpted torch, which the camera pans out to reveal as the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty Statue of Liberty] (New York). Jackson is seen singing on the Statue of Liberty's torch surrounded by other famous world structures including the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza_Sphinx Giza Sphinx] (Egypt), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Sophia Hagia Sophia] (Turkey), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamukkale Pamukkale] (Turkey), the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenon Parthenon] (Greece), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taj_Mahal Taj Mahal] (India), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Basil's_Cathedral St. Basil's Cathedral] (Russia), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramids_of_Giza Pyramids of Giza] (Egypt), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gate_Bridge Golden Gate Bridge] (San Francisco), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Ben Big Ben] (London) and the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower Eiffel Tower] (Paris).

At the end of the video, different people of different ethnicities and nationalities, including actor [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Chin Glen Chin], model [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyra_Banks Tyra Banks], actress [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khrystyne_Haje Khrystyne Haje], and actor [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Anderson-Gunter Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter], dance as they morph into one another (shown as "talking heads"). This technique had been previously used only in movies such as [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_(film) Willow] and [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminator_2 Terminator 2]. The morphing visual effects were created by [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Data_Images Pacific Data Images].[10]

Panther Dance

In the extended version of the music video, after the song, a black panther walks out of the studio and emerges into Jackson, as he dances furiously in the street and destroys a glass beer bottle, a parked car. and store windows labeled with spray-painted racist words in a city street. He tears off his shirt and screams with grand drama as the hotel neon sign falls. After his damage and rampage, he re-emerges into a panther. Finally, [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Simpson Bart Simpson] from [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simpsons The Simpsons] jams to the song while watching it on the TV. [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_Simpson Homer] yells at him to "Turn off that noise!" Bart replies, "Chill out, Homeboy." Then, Homer angrily turns the TV off. The static then cuts to a close-up of Jackson with the tagline "prejudice is ignorance".

The music video of the song appears on the video albums: [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangerous:_The_Short_Films Dangerous: The Short Films] (long version), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Greatest_Hits_%E2%80%93_HIStory Video Greatest Hits – HIStory] (long version, without graffiti on VHS version but with graffiti on DVD version), [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_Ones_(video) Number Ones] (short version), and [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson's_Vision Michael Jackson's Vision] (long version without graffiti).

Controversy and censorship

Controversy and censorship

Music video comparison

A comparison between the two versions of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" music video: the original version and the computer-altered racist graffiti version (with the messages reading "Hitler Lives", NI66er 6O HOMe", "No More Wetbacks" and "KKK Rules")

Controversy was generated concerning the last four minutes of the original music video. A [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_panther black panther] walks out of the studio and then morphs into Michael.[11] Then he walks outside to perform some of his most physically slick dance moves, in a similar way to "[./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billie_Jean Billie Jean]". The scene is also very similar to that of a commercial Jackson appeared in for [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.A._Gear L.A. Gear] in 1989. This part contained sexually suggestive scenes when Jackson starts to grab his crotch,[12] and then zips his pants up. In the original version, Jackson is seen smashing windows,[12] destroying a car with his arm and a crowbar, destroying store windows with a steering wheel and a trash can, and causing an inn (called the "Royal Arms Hotel") to explode. Jackson later apologized saying that the violent and suggestive behavior was an interpretation of the animalistic instincts of a panther into a dance, and MTV and other music video networks removed the last four minutes from subsequent broadcasts.[11] To make the vandalism and violence more understandable to viewers, an altered version was produced, with racist graffiti added via [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-generated_imagery CGI] to the windows Jackson breaks. The version included in the boxed set [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson's_Vision Michael Jackson's Vision] is the aired, televised version without the graffiti, and does not include the "prejudice is ignorance" title card.

To date, the uncut version has generally been seen in the United States on [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV2 MTV2] only between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00, as part of their special uncut airing of the "Most Controversial Music Videos" of all time. The extended version is also available on Michael's DVDs. The original version (without graffiti) is available on the DVD releases of [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Greatest_Hits_%E2%80%93_HIStory Video Greatest Hits – HIStory] with the VHS and LaserDisc release containing the aired version, and online at MTVMusic.com. It was still shown in its entirety for some years in Europe. Indeed, UK channel [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV_Classic_(UK_&_Ireland) MTV Classic] aired the full video at 14:00 on April 11, 2010, including the cameo appearance by Bart Simpson and Homer Simpson before the "prejudice is ignorance" image. MTV Classic have continued to air the full video post-watershed and recently aired in September 2012.

The uncut version was also shown in Australia at 11:45 pm [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AEST AEST] on Saturday June 2, 2012 as the first song on the weekly late-night, guest-programmed music video show [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rage_(TV_program) Rage], on [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABC1 ABC1] and in Europe (except Italy, San Marino and the United Kingdom), on [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VH1_Classic_(European_TV_channel) VH1 Classic] at 21:30 [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_European_Time CET] on Saturday, September 29, 2018.

The first version made available in the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes_Store iTunes Store] contains neither the panther scene nor [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simpsons The Simpsons], cameo, and is cut after the morphing sequence. Since then, a new version has been released with the graffiti and The Simpsons cameo called "Black or White (Michael Jackson's Vision)."

Starting with the Dangerous Tour and continuing with the HIStory Tour, the "Panther Dance" from the video was played as an interlude. The clip is several seconds shorter than the original, omitting all the violence (Jackson destroying the car and windows) and the sexually suggestive scenes when Jackson starts to grab his crotch.[11] The scene of the trousers re-zipping was retained. In predominantly Muslim countries during the HIStory Tour, the scene was replaced with the [./https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmina_Burana Carmina Burana] "Brace Yourself" montage originally used as the intro during the Dangerous Tour.

Although a number of networks broadcast the short censored version, many still air the racist graffiti version


  • I Took My Baby
  • On A Saturday Bang
  • Boy Is That Girl With You
  • Yes We’re One And The Same
  • Now I Believe In Miracles
  • And A Miracle
  • Has Happened Tonight
  • But, If
  • You’re Thinkin’
  • About My Baby
  • It Don’t Matter If You’re
  • Black Or White
  • They Print My Message
  • In The Saturday Sun
  • I Had To Tell Them
  • I Ain’t Second To None
  • And I Told About Equality
  • An It’s True
  • Either You’re Wrong
  • Or You’re Right
  • But, If
  • You’re Thinkin’
  • About My Baby
  • It Don’t Matter If You’re
  • Black Or White
  • I Am Tired Of This Devil
  • I Am Tired Of This Stuff
  • I Am Tired Of This Business
  • Sew When The
  • Going Gets Rough
  • I Ain’t Scared Of
  • Your Brother
  • I Ain’t Scared Of No Sheets
  • I Ain’t Scare Of Nobody
  • Girl When The
  • Goin’ Gets Mean
  • (L. T. B. Rap Performance)
  • Protection
  • For Gangs, Clubs
  • And Nations
  • Causing Grief In
  • Human Relations
  • It’s A Turf War
  • On A Global Scale
  • I’d Rather Hear Both Sides
  • Of The Tale
  • See, It’s Not About Races
  • Just Places
  • Faces
  • Where Your Blood
  • Comes From
  • Is Where Your Space Is
  • I’ve Seen The Bright
  • Get Duller
  • I’m Not Going To Spend
  • My Life Being A Color
  • (Michael)
  • Don’t Tell Me You Agree With Me
  • When I Saw You Kicking Dirt In My Eye
  • But, If
  • You’re Thinkin’ About My Baby
  • It Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White
  • I Said If
  • You’re Thinkin’ Of
  • Being My Baby
  • It Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White
  • I Said If
  • You’re Thinkin’ Of
  • Being My Brother
  • It Don’t Matter If You’re
  • Black Or White
  • Ooh, Ooh
  • Yea, Yea, Yea Now
  • Ooh, Ooh
  • Yea, Yea, Yea Now
  • It’s Black, It’s White
  • It’s Tough For You
  • To Get By
  • It’s Black , It’s White, Whoo
  • It’s Black, It’s White
  • It’s Tough For You
  • To Get By
  • It’s Black , It’s White, Whoo



Black or White received many awards and has been a great success. It has become the fastest Billboard 100 since 1969 for 7 weeks, when Get Back by The Beatles also conquered the chart in just 3 weeks. It also received No.3 on the R&B singles chart, RIAA Platinum Record Award (USA million seller), No.8 best selling single of 1991 in the States, the very first single by an American to enter the UK singles chart at no.1 since Elvis Presley’s It’s Now Or Never in 1960 that has spent two weeks in the pole position, and no.1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.[13]

In Dangerous

Black or White is the 8th track listing and the 1st single in this album.[14]

In HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I

Black or White is the 3rd song on the 1st disc in the album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.[15]

External links


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_or_White
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Template:Cite web
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  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Template:Cite book
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  10. Template:Cite book
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Template:Cite web
  12. 12.0 12.1 Template:Cite web
  13. http://www.mjtunes.com/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=51
  14. http://michael-jackson.wikia.com/wiki/Dangerous_%28album%29
  15. http://michael-jackson.wikia.com/wiki/HIStory:_Past,_Present_and_Future,_Book_I