Coda: The Icon Is Dead: Mourning Michael Jackson

in Troubling Vision

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226253022
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226253053 | DOI:
Coda: The Icon Is Dead: Mourning Michael Jackson

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This chapter, which evaluates various attempts to remember Michael Jackson that secure his blackness and masculinity as black icon, American icon, global icon, also covers the imaginings and practices of fans to render Jackson in the familiar and to provide an index of his iconicity. Jackson had entered a realm of iconicity that detaches the image from corporeality and lived experience, and yet his death rendered iconicity unfixed and unstable. For much of Jackson's career, he strategically utilized visual media to manufacture and circulate his own image as one of the most inaccessible and desired commodity fetishes. His visual legacy showed the importance of black performance and expressive cultures, and the continually vexed workings of blackness as visually knowable objects and subjects. Remembering Michael reveals a reliance on iconicity that becomes more crucial when the icon literally and symbolically dies.

Keywords: iconicity; Michael Jackson; blackness; masculinity; visual media; black icon

Chapter.  4951 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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