Michael Jackson Representers

The MIchael Jacksons by Lorena Turner

Today the book The Michael Jacksons by Lorena Turner hits the shelves. It is an amalgam of photography and social science research into the lives of actors and actresses who devote their lives to portraying Michael Jackson. Turner started her research on Hollywood Boulevard and then branched out into other venues where the representers perform. I listened to this interview with Turner on the podcast “New Books in American Studies.” She mentions the variety of ways in which the representers and the audiences understand Michael Jackson’s race and gender. She suggests that to many people in this world, he somehow surpassed race and gender to become “simply human.”  Yet, she also recognizes that different audiences desire different eras of Michael Jackson and that those desires tend to fall according to race. One representer from Haiti was so often told that he was “too dark” that he started recording everything people say to him about race. He has over 2000 statements!

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