Not enough black kids modelling Michael Jackson Halloween costumes? Jezebel thinks so

Nadine Bells
Shine On
October 5, 2012

Michael Jackson sang, "It don't matter if you're black or white."

Yet the folks at the popular website Jezebel are taking issue with the lack of black kids modelling Jackson Halloween costumes online.

"…Out of the over 20 ready-made MJ costumes we happened upon, none of them were modelled by black children. That's not to say that white kids can't dress up as their favourite pop idol for Halloween, but it's odd that none of these companies could find a black child to model a costume of one of the most famous black artists in entertainment history," Tracle Egan Morrissey writes on the website.

A more thorough search, however, does surface image of black children channeling the king of pop. Look here. And here.

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Readers responded to the Jezebel piece with wildly varying perspectives. Some were frustrated that cheap costume ads had to be attacked as a race issue.

"So why can't we just see it as PEOPLE representing this famous PERSON in an ad rather than looking at it like WHITE PEOPLE representing a famous BLACK PERSON. Like what does race have to do with anything? We're all people,"  writes cherrybomb99, starting a debate among commenters.

Others acknowledge the challenges in addressing Jackson's paler-by-the-decade skin tone.

"But Michael Jackson was always on the pale side, and his skin situation only got, erm, worse as he got older. Michael Jackson and his skin is a whole huge can of worms that I can understand a costume seller and photo crew wouldn't necessarily know what to do about," misstempeste chimes in.

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And one reader forgave the images as a deadline/budget issue that shouldn't be read into.

"I work in production. You have to understand that for a cheap site like this, no one puts nearly that much thought into the casting. They get kids that have low day rates and cram them into as many costumes as they can...they have a deadline, they have a budget, they are really just trying to crank the pictures out," addyjanes writes.

Others suggest that a pop star from the '80s — with an image tainted by admitted "innocent" sleepovers with kids — might not be an appropriate costume option for little ones in the first place, regardless of race.

What are your thoughts on the apparent lack of black children modelling MJ costumes? Forgivable oversight or unconscious racism? Sound off in the comments.

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