Why I Love The Mature Face of Michael

This Was The Photo That First Made Realize That Michael Was As Beautiful At 47 As At 25…And That The Media Had Fed Me A Blatant Lie!

The media told us we weren’t supposed to. For years, they fed us-the public-on a steady diet of myths and lies about who Michael Jackson was, and what we were supposed to think of him-and most notably, what we were supposed to think about his appearance. We were supposed to believe he was “Wacko Jacko.” We were supposed to believe that here was someone who had literally “carved” his face into something unrecognizable, even sub-human. Tabloids, TV shows, and medialoid sites routinely compared photos of the young, Thriller-era Michael, or Jackson 5 era Michael, to current photos, always emphasizing how much his looks had changed and, what’s more, implying what we were supposed to think of those changes.

We were supposed to think either one of two things. How sad and tragic, or, on the flipside, how “Ew.” (Usually, these outlets hypocritically professed the former, while reading between the lines, it was blatantly obvious that the latter reaction was their true intent).

What they didn’t bargain on was that anyone would ever consider that face to be beautiful. But you know what? I discovered something interesting after I became a diehard fan. I discovered that millions of people-including women all over the world-considered this face beautiful. And by that, I’m not talking merely a kind of acceptance, as in “we love Michael, warts and all” kind of acceptance. I am talking a genuine, sincere belief that Michael Jackson was just as sexy, and just as physically beautiful, post-vitiligo and post-cosmetic surgery, as before. In fact, perhaps to some, even moreso.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Allow me to back up just a little, back to those horrific “Wacko Jacko” days, and my own personal journey as I went from a sheep following the herd, to actually having my own eyes opened wide to what true beauty actually is. And as the old cliche’ goes, beauty is not only “just” in the eye of the beholder, but is also internal as well as external. True beauty that shines from within can make even the most hideous exterior a thing of great beauty. Just look at Mother Theresa. Certainly this woman would never have been mistaken for a pinup girl. But to me, she was more beautiful than any Playboy bunny could ever be.

Michael At 50…Stunning!

However, I’m not exactly talking about that, either. My own change in perception as to Michael’s mature beauty is something more than just an acceptance that he remained inwardly beautiful. It has more to do with an actual altering of my aesthetic perception of his physical appearance-as well as the discovery that the media had been feeding me a lie for years!

It’s Not That We Disagree That Young Michael Was Gorgeous. I Think For Many Of Us, However, The Problem Has Been With A Media That Has Tried To Convince Us That This Was The Only “Acceptable” Image of Michael Jackson.

Like so many, I came to believe that Michael Jackson was a very handsome, young BLACK man who, through whatever insecurities or mental breakdowns, had literally transformed himself into “a freak.” People made jokes about him having turned himself into “a white woman.” There were jokes about him looking like some alien drag queen. We’ve all heard them, at some time or other. Maybe we even laughed at them ourselves. I came to believe that he was someone who had had countless cosmetic surgery procedures-so many that his face was literally disintergrating! There were stories that his face was caving in; that his nose was falling off. Every photo we saw in the media seemed to emphasize these gross exaggerations. We saw photoshopped pics of a Michael with only a hole in his face for a nose. We saw a barrage of unflattering photos that always seemed to purposely accentuate the worst angles, or photos obviously taken on his worst days, when his expressions would register anger or sulleness or depression. Photos would be lightened or darkened to accentuate a bad makeup day, or a bad hair day. And despite what I now know were thousands of far more attractive and flattering photos from this era at their disposal, media outlets continued to deliberately choose only the most unflaterring photos to accompany every (usually negative) story. The intent was clear. This was a deliberate campaign to foster the “Wacko Jacko” image and to sell the myth of “the freak.” It simply wouldn’t have had the same affect if, say, TMZ ran their latest “Wacko Jacko” story only to accompany it with a photo of mature Michael looking healthy, handsome, and gorgeous. You would never see, for example, a TMZ or National Enquirer story accompanied by something like his Vogue or Ebony photos (granted, they may not have had copyright freedom to use those particular photos but that is still no excuse, since that still left many others they could have easily chosen from). Instead, media outlets would deliberately choose photos meant to accentuate the image of “the fallen” Michael Jackson. Images of him in court, or arriving and leaving from his 2005 trial, became especial favorites, since these images tended to enhance the public belief that Michael Jackson’s life was now more about scandal and legal issues, than performing and music (even though, ironically, it was one of those very photos that would turn around my whole perception of mature Michael). They loved to show his 2003 mug shot; that photo must have been their crown jewel. It encompasses everything the media wanted us to believe about Michael Jackson’s appearance. In that photo, his makeup is unattractively harsh (giving him that exaggerated, “drag queen” look that the media so loved to poke fun at) but, what’s more, he looks haggard and worn down. Mug shots, by their very nature, are never pretty. No one is happy being booked, finger printed, arrested (especially on false charges!) and put through the grill. In that photo, Michael looks disheveled, angry, but also beaten down. “You have me,” his expression seems to be saying.

At The Height Of Creating The “Wacko Jacko” Myth, Images Like Michael’s Stunning Ebony And Vogue Shots Were Kept Intentioanlly Suppressed, While The Same Handful Of Unflattering Photos Were Consistently Used Over And Over











And that’s exactly what the media loved most. If anyone doubts that there was a deliberate media conspiracy to present Michael in the most physically unattractive light possible, just consider the words of Aphrodite Jones who was there at the 2005 trial, and witnessed the conspiracy first hand. She not only wrote in her book Conspiracy, but also confirmed when I interviewed her in person in 2010, that paparazzi and reporters covering the trial would intentionally try to get the worst angles of him, or to capture him in the worst possible lighting, so that  the photos would look appropriately hideous. So it wasn’t as if these photographers were simply getting bad shots because it just happened that way; they were deliberately being instructed, and going out of their way, to get the worst shots possible!

Granted, Michael Jackson’s case isn’t unique. The media has done this same number to many celebrities. They did it to Whitney. They did it to Kirstie Ally with all of her recent weight issues. They’ve even done it to Oprah. And practically every celebrity who’s had a weight problem, or a botched cosmetic procedure, or a major illness has at some point been under fire. But I think we can safely say, none ever had it so consistently, or with such especial venom, as Michael Jackson.


A Freak, Or A Very Suave And Handsome Man? You Be The Judge!

Since, like many, I didn’t know much about Michael Jackson other than what I saw reported, I had come to believe the lie myself. There remained a lingering image of a once beautiful young man who had turned himself into a freak of nature. I am sad to say that this false belief persisted for me even sometime after his death. I even recall going on Youtube and leaving what I thought at the time was a very innocent and sincere comment on one of his early videos, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough. I remember looking at that clip, and seeing that gorgeous, young black man with his natural hair and dazzling smile-so cool, so confident, so suave. And I typed into the comment box that it was a shame he felt he had to resort to surgery, when there was nothing wrong with his natural face.

Days later I went back only to discover that the fan who had posted the vid had deleted my comment. I was puzzled; baffled, even a bit hurt. I didn’t think I had posted anything trollish or mean. I was expressing what was, at the time for me, a sincere comment. Why did that fan consider it offensive? In my mind, I was only expressing what I assumed everyone thought. I even pm’d this fan, asking for an explanation, but I never heard back. Although I still don’t approve of censorship as the most mature way to handle disagreement, I can say now that I fully understand why my comment was probably perceived as trollish, and why that fan perceived it as offensive. For years, MJ fans had been sitting by and taking it while the media labeled this man a freak and a “wacko” and criticized his every move. Michael had just died, and no real fan was in the mood to hear it anymore. Not from anyone, well intentioned or not.

The Gentleness Of This Face And The Light In His Eyes Is What Draws You In


Fortunately my curiosity to learn more about Michael did not end there. I started going to the fan forums, at first just as a kind of curious passer-by. I was curious about the man, and curious about how his diehard fans were reacting to the loss. And of course, as I’ve written here many times, I was trying to make sense of my own overwhelming feelings of sadness and loss over this death; trying to get my hands around why his death had hit me so hard. Like so many, I was grieving without any real idea of exactly why I was grieving so hard. My journey of discovery would eventually lead me to become a full-fledged fan.

But in those early days, I started to notice something very interesting. It struck me-and I have to add, deeply touched me-how so many fans displayed Michael’s mature photos proudly as their avators and signatures. What’s more, that they not only proudly displayed his post-vitiligo, post-surgery photos, but openly GUSHED over them; even had entire threads dedicated to them!

Realizing That His Fans Openly and Proudly Celebrated His Mature Sexuality And Beauty Was An Eye Opener For Me. It Taught Me That It Was OK To Think He Was Sexy…At Any Age And From Any Era

This really opened my eyes in a new way, as I realized these fans (most of them female) not only accepted Michael in his maturity, but openly celebrated it; openly declared him beautiful and…yes, sexy.

At first, something within me still resisted. I thought it must be attributable only to the old “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “love is blind” or a way of saying their love for him simply encompassed full acceptance. Or maybe like Belle in the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” they had simply come to realize, as I said earlier, that beauty from within transcends all.

But then one day I saw a photo that made my heart melt. It was the photo I posted above. By this time, I had started to slowly realize that what the media had fed me for years regarding this man’s appearance wasn’t altogether true. But this was the first time, perhaps, that I really “got” why he was still a beautiful man to his legion of devoted female fans. This photo, taken during his 2005 trial, completely drew me in. There was something whimsical about this face; an indefinable, quirky charm. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, but I knew instinctively-the way a woman just knows-that this was someone I would have had no problem being phyically attracted to (and yes, here I am putting aside everything else I know or admire about Michael, and am speaking purely from a physical standpoint!). Maybe it was that little devilish glint in his eye; maybe the slightly mischevous smile; maybe the inner strength, resiliency of spirit, and inner beauty that comes through so clearly in that picture…whatever it was, I knew something within me had perceptibly changed.

I was physically attracted to mature Michael. I had fallen in love with the face of mature Michael. I was..dare I say it?…even a bit in lust with mature Michael. How did this happen? And how could I have been so blindsided all those years? That’s the question that still puzzles me. Obviously, as I quickly discovered, I wasn’t alone in this transformation. Hundreds of fan stories have revealed similar experiences. It was as if tens of thousands of us, all simultaneously, were making the same discovery. Many of us were seeing, for the very first time, the photos that the media had never shown us, or at least not on a widespread scale. Perhaps the loss and the collective grief had also made many of us more attuned and perceptive than we had allowed ourselves to be before. We saw emerging from these images-some of which many of us had never seen before- a mature man who was suave, svelte, fashion savvy and-with the right makeup and hairstyle-stunning.

My God, we gasped. This man was gorgeous! And not just the younger incarnation of him.  How had we allowed ourselves to be so blind? Okay, enough with the rhetorical questions. Let’s try to examine the answers.

If there was a deliberate media conspiracy to make us believe that mature Michael was a freakazoid, it begs the question: Why?

That Michael Jackson was sexy and had enormous appeal to female fans was never any secret. Even as a child in The Jackson 5, the late Don Cornelius said that the adult women were all over him-okay, maybe not in a sexual way (let’s hope!) but still, it was a way of saying, this kid was already driving the women wild. As Michael matured and became a solo artist, his appeal was still a given, even though the media tended to play him up as “cute” rather than “sexy.” However, we would see the media machine’s attempt to play down his sexuality  become even more accelerated as his commercial success broke the records of white icons, and as his sex symbol status became global. Perhaps for the first time in history, we had a black performer who was being desired by women of all races and nationalities all over the world.

Was he too much of a threat for some?



That question has been raised many times before, and one of the best analytical responses I’ve seen has been provided by Dr. Willa Stillwater and Joie Collins on their excellent blog, Dancing With The Elephant:


One thing that Willa and Joie have touched upon in their articles-and a sentiment I fully agree with-is that there seems to have been a definite media conspiracy to keep Michael Jackson, the Black man, “in his place.” How else to explain why a man of such obvious and enormous appeal to women of all races, nationalities, and ages was continuously denied sex symbol status? The most it seemed the media was ever willing to concede was that Michael Jackson in his youth, before surgery and before “changing” color, was passably cute. Yet we’ve all seen the concert footage where hundreds of girls are weeping, fainting; hysterical. Every concert, the paramedics were on standby, attending to hundreds of faints. We’ve all seen the videos where female fans weep hysterically in his presence.

Did We “Really” Think He Was Sexy, Even After All The Trials, The Tribulations, The Surgeries, The Vitiligo…Hell Yes, We Did!

In the 1950’s, it was no problem to believe that millions of girls could be driven to weeping and fits of hysteria by Elvis’s gyrations. In the 60’s, the media had no problem swallowing that millions of American teenagers were crying hysterically over The Beatles. Yet, despite all the documented evidence that clearly shows how females reacted to Michael Jackson, we can still hear the disbelieving scoffs in the media whenever someone happens to mention Michael Jackson and “sex” or “sex appeal” in the same breath. How many times have we heard some disbelieving TV host say condescendingly to a guest speaker, “You really  think Michael Jackson was sexy?”

Now, as to what extent  these hosts are part of the conspiracy, or simply a victim of it the way so many of us were, is hard to say. But the end result is the same. It continues to feed into the cultural belief that Michael Jackson (aside from the pedophile allegations) was somehow asexual and devoid of any but the most childlike appeal. I haven’t yet quite figured how these people have all somehow missed the very blatant message of The Gold Pants or those highly suggestive dance moves, but anyway, that is all subject matter that has been hashed out before. The bottom line is that it simply seems evident that the media did not want to give Michael his due as a sex symbol. And the only logical reasons for that seem to be grounded in pure racism.

With That Gorgeous Smile Still Intact, What Was There Not To Love About This Face?

In any event, what the media instilled in us was a deeply ingrained belief that it was simply not politically correct to think of Michael Jackson as attractive post-Thriller era (or at the very least, up through the early Bad era). There seemed to be a deliberate and almost defiant media backlash against the “whiter” and more seemingly “feminized” or androgynous Michael of the late 80’s, 90’s and beyond. (Perhaps it’s also not surprising that most of the uproar over his changing appearance, especially over the skin issue, has come loudest and most vehemently from whites, when you would think it would be African-Americans who would have the most concern over whether Michael had “betrayed” his race. But ironically, while African-American fans remained loyal for the most part, it seemed to be the whites who were making the biggest hoopla over it, which again begs the question: What were they so afraid of, or so threatened by, if Michael was, in fact, becoming lighter? Let’s just put aside for a moment that Michael had vitiligo and couldn’t help losing his skin color. The fact was, there were many who saw him as an imminent threat, and who perhaps viewed his apparently lightening skin color as the refusal of a black man to stay “in a black man’s place.” One could also wonder about the apparent timing of Michael’s lightening skin color happening just about the same time as the purchase of the Beatles catalog and Thriller surpassing all records to become the top selling album of all time).

Whenever fans discuss their preference for one MJ era over another, it inevitably raises a sensitive issue that is always the unspoken white elephant in the room: Does one prefer their MJ black, or white? Now honestly, I don’t think any fans see the embracing of one as a rejection of the other. Rather, most fans (at least the ones I know) look as it as an embracing and celebration of ALL eras. Part of loving who Michael was means accepting him fully and embracing all eras, regradless of those few who will proclaim The Jacksons era Michael as “my Michael” and someone else who will say, “Well, I fell in love with him during the Dangerous era, so for me, that is MY Michael.” However, I’ve heard some criticism leveled at those fans who prefer mature Michael, or who actually think that he improved his looks with cosmetic surgery. That they are, in fact, somehow contributing to the rejection of Michael’s “blackness” and feeding the very insecurities that led him to alter his appearance in the first place.

Michael, Early Thriller Era. The New Nose Gave Him A Boost Of Badly Needed Confidence. But Contrary To Popular Myth, Most Of His Major Cosmetic Surgery He Would Ever Have Done Was Completed Long Before 1990

Personally, I think the notion of rejecting Michael’s “blackness” is ludicrous since there was never a time when he wasn’t black (as if being a Black American were merely all about the amount of  pigment in one’s skin cells, and nothing else). As for the rest, I don’t think finding him even more attractive post-surgery is anything fans should feel particularly guilty about. After all, it’s no worse than all of those male fans of Pamela Anderson who just happened to find her much more attractive after her boob job. Although Michael was beautiful just the way Mother Nature made him, let’s face it, the truth is, he did go through a very awkward stage in adolescence. His first nose job, in my opinion, was a major improvement and gave his self-esteem a much needed boost.

But did Michael carry cosmetic surgery too far? If someone had asked me that question three years ago, my response would have been a resounding yes. But now I honestly don’t think so. Is it simply because the mature face of Michael has grown on me? Or simply because the more I have looked at that face over the last three years, the more I have realized that the stories of excessive surgeries were largely exaggerated?

Although I believe Michael was honest for the most part in stating he had only had work done to two areas of his face (his nose and chin cleft) I do believe, looking at photographic evidence, that he definitely had more than two nose jobs. However, his was never a case of “facial mutilation” as the media tried to portray.

Back in November, sanemjfan at Vindicating Michael posted an amazing 5-part series entitled “How To Recognize and Refute The Fallacies Used By Michael Jackson Haters.” Part two of that series dealt specifically with refuting the media lie that Michael had become a victim of “facial mutilation.” With permission, I am reprinting here an excerpt from that piece (the article, also, in turn quotes from Dr. Stillwater’s article, which I am also reprinting with permission):

From How To Recognize And Refute The Fallacies Used By Michael Jackson Haters, Part Two, by sanemjfan:



Let’s look at MJ’s so-called “facial mutilation” to see how the media used the big lie technique to say that MJ butchered his face! In this video, you’ll hear Fox News “journalist” Juliet Huddy call MJ a “freak”, in an attempt to dehumanize him just a few days prior to his memorial (and pay attention to O’Reilly’s use of ad populum techniques to bolster his claim that only blacks care about MJ):



First, let’s look at this photo, which consists of 2 photos taken 20 years apart and merged together. One photo is from MJ’s cover shoot of the December 2007 issue of Ebony magazine, and the other photo is from 1988. Look closely at the photo, and try and guess which photo is from 1988, and which is from 2007:


Pretty tough, huh? You can barely tell the difference! And this proves what MJ said all along, that he only had surgery on two areas of his face: his chin, and his nose! The rest of his face is completely structurally sound!

Below is the photo from Ebony magazine’s December 2007 issue:

Below is the photo from 1988 (you can easily tell because of his Bad attire):

Here are those same two photos merged with a photo from either 1980 or 1981. Once again, you’ll only see t change in his chin, nose, and the overall size of his face (as he had grown and gained weight over the years). I want to acknowledge LunaJo67 for creating the following 3 photo comparisons. You are amazing!



Let’s look at this excellent photo comparison of MJ from the “Thriller” era and during his trial! This was shared by the magnificent Karen O’Halloran, who authors the MJ Pop Culture blog!

While we’re on the subject of plastic surgery, let’s look at what Dr. Willa Stillwater wrote in her amazing article “Rereading Michael Jackson”, which is now posted on her new MJ blog “Dancing With The Elephant”. Open the article and scroll down to the section titled “I’m Gonna Be Exactly What You Wanna See” (a lyric taken from the song “Is It Scary?”), where Dr. Stillwater eradicates the “facial mutilation” garbage by analyzing photos of MJ throughout the years that actually MATCH each other, which is the opposite of what the media did to portray his face as a science experiment. Here are a few excerpts:

So why was it so commonly accepted that Jackson had extensive plastic surgery? I think partly it’s because he defied accepted notions of race and identity by changing the color of his skin and the shape of his nose, so both the media and the public became obsessed with his face. The tabloids, especially, were constantly photographing and analyzing his face, searching for additional changes. He also had a very angular jaw line and prominent cheekbones that could look quite different depending on camera angle, lighting, and the expression on his face, providing the tabloids with plenty of material for speculation.

However, the occasional odd photograph by itself could not have caused the media hysteria that came to surround Jackson’s face. There was more going on than that, and the explanation lies in the nature of perception itself, and how our beliefs shape our perceptions: we see what we expect to see. Once the media and the public became convinced that Jackson had had numerous plastic surgeries — that he was, in effect, addicted to plastic surgery — they began to interpret the photographic evidence in ways that supported their preconceived ideas.

However, that was not the explanation that was presented in the tabloids, and it was not what the public came to accept as true. The dominate narrative in the tabloids, and eventually in the mainstream media and the public mind as well, was that Michael Jackson was born with a cute pointy chin, rounded chipmunk cheeks, and a narrow jaw line, and then completely changed his face through obsessive plastic surgery, making his chin wider and more masculine and his cheekbones sharper and more prominent. And because that’s what our minds came to believe, that is what our eyes began to see. This progression as we imagined it looks something like this:

In effect, we highlighted and prioritized the images that fit the narrative we believed, and mentally edited out the ones that didn’t. And each time we saw a new photo, we evaluated it in terms of the pre-existing story line. If it fit the narrative and somehow suggested additional alterations to make his face more masculine, it was accepted as yet more proof of plastic surgery and was added to the “changing faces” photo series that sprang up like mushrooms all over the web. If it didn’t, it was largely ignored.

Notice how she referenced the media’s use of anecdotal evidence, which is the fallacy of only using evidence and research that supports your claim, while IGNORING anything that refutes your claim. (This is also known as “cherry picking”.) As Dr. Stillwater asserted, any photo that didn’t “fit” the facial mutilation meme was ignored and tossed on the cutting room floor.

Please, PLEASE take a moment to read that section and look at the photo lineups that she presented! It was excellent research that only a true MJ advocate could accomplish!

Let’s look at some additional photos of MJ to and see how the media really did a number on him. This photo below, taken in the early 2000s, is actually photo-shopped in order to make MJ’s skin even lighter than it really is, so that people could say to themselves “Yuck! He looks like a freak! I think he’s guilty!

It’s similar to what Time Magazine did to O.J. Simpson in June 1994 (before he had his day in court!), when they intentionally darkened his complexion to make him look guilty! (Newsweek magazine ran the exact same mug shot, but without altering it.)


This is what’s MJ’s skin complexion really looked like!


Here is a comparison photo of MJ in 1996 and 2005; by the way, the 2005 photo is on the left, and the 1996 photo is on the right! When you look at the photo, you naturally assume that the older photo is on the left:

End of Excerpt

Most of the changes perceived in Michael’s appearance seemed to have more to do with his loss of skin pigment than actual cosmetic  changes. Also, the media often failed to take into account such natural changes as those having to do with the ageing process, fluctuations in weight, and even something as simplistic as a change of hairstyle!

As many have noted, it’s amazing that once Michael had donned his curls again for This Is It, he looked amazingly like his Dangerous-era self, only perhaps a little older:










What this tells us is that Michael had had relatively little, if any, major cosmetic procedures done from the early 90’s to 2009, and that the bulwark of any major work he may have had done was probably completed by the late 80’s with the addition of the chin cleft. This is certainly, however, in stark contrast to the myth the media continued to foster upon us, which would lead one to believe that Michael had practically disfigured himself with countless procedures!

On The Set Of One More Chance In 2003. Michael Cuts A Debonaire Figure In Black Leather

I have finally come to the conclusive opinion that, for whatever reason, the media needed Michael Jackson to be a freak, and they were determined to sell us that image at all costs, even if it meant foistering a lie. I don’t think it was as deliberate as that they sat down collectively and planned it out. But what happened in the case of Michael Jackson was a clear case that if you continue to feed people a lie long enough-and manage to manipulate enough evidence in order to get peoples’ eyes and brains to see what you want them to see-you can create almost anything.

I think that one reason so many of Michael’s fans openly and proudly embrace his mature image is also precisely for that very reason. We were basically told from on high that it was okay and acceptable to love the young Michael, the iconic Michael. But that somehow, the face of mature Michael was supposed to be something that repulsed us. We were told it was not supposed to be a face we could love.

They Tried To Tell Us That This Was A Face We Could Not Love. But How Could We Not?

I believed the lie for too many years, until one day I looked into that face and realized it was beautiful. What’s more, I realized I wasn’t alone. All over the world, fans of all ages continue to celebrate the mature beauty of Michael Jackson. And to reject the false illusion we were fed. Sure, when I look at images of the youthful Michael, I see a very gorgeous and handsome young man. But when I look at the face of mature Michael, I see so much more. I see a face of true character, reflecting the quiet,  inner strength and resilient spirit that had enabled him to endure so much.

These Rare Images Captured By A Fan Who Ran Into Michael At Disney World In 2002 Capture Beautifully The Mature Face Of Michael, With No Makeup And No Frills

What I don’t see is “Wacko Jacko” the “self-multilated freak”. I stopped looking for him long ago because I came to realize he never existed at all.  Except as a product of  some very vivid and twisted imaginations.


ETA: This video was recently brought to my attention, and I wanted to add it here. It beautifully captures so much of what has been said here. As Michael matured, and especially as he endured some of his darkest, most troubled times, his beauty shone through more than ever. Lovely mature pics, and perfect song choice to accompany:


109 thoughts on “Why I Love The Mature Face of Michael”

    1. Hi Karen,

      Sorry your comments got held in the que. It didn’t recognize your email.

      I simply pasted that section from sanemjfan’s blog, but I can make the correction if you want. All it would take is a small tweak.

  1. One of the things I initially felt uncomfortable was being as attracted to the lighter complexion Michael as I was to his natural complexion. I felt like I was somehow being racist by doing so. Even now, when I cite 2007 as being my favourite Michael era in terms of his personal style I feel an urge to let people know that watching the Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough video close ups of Michael makes my stomach do loops!
    Choosing your favourite MJ era is kind of like trying to picking which one of your kids you love the most. Inadvisable and impossible!

    1. I grew up in a very old school (ahem, make that racist) Southern family. I remember when I was growing up, it was okay for me to say I liked Michael’s music-I could buy his records, etc-but I couldn’t say anything about liking him “in that way” without risking severe disapproval. As Willa and Joie have written, back in those days white girls who liked black boys were considered white trash, in my neck of the woods anyway. Things have progressed but even now there are still remnants of those old attitudes. And it did seem to me that I saw my mother’s and grandmother’s attitudes soften towards Michael as he got lighter complected. It was all very confusing to me. But in another way, it also helped teach a valuable lesson. I think it helped people LIKE my mother and grandmother to realize that this man was the same person, “black” or “white.” And to realize just how shallow it is to judge people by something so superficial as skin color.

  2. Raven: My experience is just like yours. Willa’s M Poetica opened my eyes to the truth and I must admit it took a little while to accept what I was seeing…I had been conditioned to believe a lie and years of that input was difficult in some ways to reject. It was the same with Michael’s first marriage. The one that was supposedly a ‘sham’. One look at pictures of them together and there is no doubt about the love..it was all over them.

    The comparison photos are stunning and tell the truth. Thank you for this.

    1. I remember David Nordahl telling me that Michael and Lisa were so much in love, they were like watching two high school kids together. This came about totally off the record and I’m sure he was telling the truth.

      I know that every woman is different and I can’t speak for all women. But I find it more than a little irritating when the media tries to “dictate” what/who we are supposed to perceive as sexy, and who/what we are not. I remember something I read once about Johnny Depp. The article was basically saying how he had the looks to go the straight leading man route, but instead, he chose to dedicate his career to playing quirky, off-the-cuff characters like Edward Scissorhands, Captain Jack Sparrow, etc. Yet I think that is the essence of his appeal. To me, it’s far sexier than if he played straight romantic leads. I think in some ways this sort of helps explain the appeal of mature Michael for me. There was something unique and different about his appearance-but in a very good way (even if it took opening my eyes a bit to make me see it!). Not every celebrity has to (or should have to) look like Brad Pitt or George Clooney to be considered handsome. Michael had his own look and his own style. I didn’t always agree with every choice Michael made, such as some of his makeup and hairstyle choices. But when he pulled all the right elements together, he was stunning. Actually, he didn’t even need a lot; my favorite photos from his mature years are the ones where he is wearing very minimal to no makeup; even if he did look very pale without it, I still think he looked best that way. I’ve often said it was not so much his cosmetic surgery that drew so much negative attention to his face in the media, but rather, some of the garish and often unflattering makeup he wore during that era. Those, of course, were the pics that the media loved. Even now, it’s very rare that you will actually see a flattering photo of Michael whenever a news story is printed-and if you do, it’s probably by divine accident, or because they’ve used a younger photo. IMDB had used one of those awful “drag queen” pics on his profile page for years, and only upgraded to a much more attractive photo from the “Bad” era after his death.

      For me, this is all part of building Michael up again and rehabilitating his image, which the media deliberately sabotaged. A couple of years ago, a comment from a teenage girl really took me aback. Somehow the conversation had drifted to Michael’s (then) recent death and his appearance. She said, “Janet was the one who got all the looks in that family.” That comment really took the wind out of me because it opened my eyes to a couple of things-#1: Just how out of touch the younger generation had become with Michael and who he was, and, #2: How completely and thoroughly the media had done their dirty work, and how successful their campaign had been. It really made me sad when I realized this was the beautiful Michael Jackson from my youth who was being talked about that way, by some young kid without a clue. Between that conversation and my own experience (for this was at the time when I, myself, was just starting to realize how wrong I’d been about his mature face!) it really ignited my desire to set the record straight.

      1. I love the photos of Michael without makeup. I think it was 2006/7 when he went to Japan for an MTV award. Little to no makeup and stunning. Also the photos from Bahrain and the ones you printed above. It didn’t occur to me that the sometimes overdone makeup fueled the ridicule. There is no ignoring the fact of the comparison photos…not sure if it was Willia who wrote it but we became so conditioned to the lie that so many could not see the truth right in front of them. We saw what we were told to see…

        1. Yes, the overdone makeup was absolutely what drew most of the negative attention to his face. I think a lot of the times people THOUGHT it was about the surgery, when it really wasn’t.

  3. “I see a face of true character, reflecting the quiet, inner strength and resilient spirit that had enabled him to endure so much.”Raven, you just said it all..<3

  4. Wonderful post Raven, I also have had a very similar awakening over the past few years since Michael’s death. The photo comparisons you included and the excerpts from excellent sources like Willa Stillwater’s “M. Poetica” and Vindicating Michael really tell the true story! Michael’s beauty remained a constant from his cute, cuddly J5 days all the way through to the mature, sensual, intelligent, gorgeous 50 year old man that melts my heart even more now that my eyes have been opened to see the truth and reject the false illusions and negative caricature that the media wanted us to see.

    I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I hear the same line from so many people when refering to Michael… “He was such a handsome, and talented young man. Why did he make himself look so freaky?” or something to that effect. I try to point out the truth and remind them that the photos and stories the media has continually put out are puposefully distorted to perpetuate the negative and “freaky” image they want to sell. I reinforce the facts about his Vitiligo, his Lupus, the plastic surgery to his nose and chin that is well documented as opposed to the ridiculous claims. Sometimes it just seems like I am talking to the walls! It is very hard to undo the false image that the media has so successfully created over so many years of cruel lies! I guess all we can do is remain vigilant and never stop correcting, defending and making sure the lies do not go unanswered!!

    Have you seen any of Eliza Lo’s beautiful pencil drawings of pictures of Michael? She recently self published a book of her drawings which span Michael’s entire life from a drawing of one of his baby pictures through his later years. She does an amazing job of really capturing Michael’s essence through his amazing eyes and his smile which so obviously have never really changed. I took the book home to show my mom who is one of those people who although she is an admirer of Michael’s music and talents, she will often use the word “freaky” when describing his look in later years. Her first reaction to Eliza’s drawings was to say how expressive and gorgeous his eyes were in each image. I think for the first time she was actually seeing the real beauty in Michael that never changed. I asked her what she thought of the images from later in his life and she was surprised to see how “normal” he appeared. We had a good discussion and I felt like she finally got it, I hope! I think she was able to really look at the drawings without immediatly comparing them in her mind to the distorted photos she has been bombarded with in the media.

    Thanks again Raven. I agree with Lia, you said it all in that one line… “I see a face of true character, reflecting the quiet inner strength and resilient spirit that had enabled him to endure so much.”

    1. No, I have not seen that book. It sounds beautiful, though!

      Your mother may have hit on something. I think what strikes me the most when I look at these images of his mature face is his eyes. They were always large and expressive but something about their inky darkness against the contrast of his pale skin in later years really made them stand out.

  5. Raven, you are so correct, all the media has fed us are the most unflattering pictures of Michael in the 2000’s. The merged photos from 1988 and 2007 are just startling! However, what do you think of Michael’s appearance on his 30th anniversary special, and at the Invincible CD signing at Virgin Records that same year? He looked quite different from the home movies in 2000 or concert photos from 1999. Then, again, on American Bandstand’s 50’s anniversary show in 2002, Michael’s face again appeared as it had pre-2000. It seems in those years, 2000-2001, something was done. He looked puffy in 2000 and then just “different” in 2001. Perhaps this is my kneejerk reaction to media forcefeeding. I also believe that after the trial, Michael’s weight loss showed predominantly in his face, i.e., sunken cheeks, and the paps must have really enjoyed that! So much easier to use a bad angle to get an unflattering shot!

    1. I’ve heard at least one theory that he was undergoing treatment for a lupus flare-up during that time. I don’t know how accurate that is.

      In Frank Cascio’s book he describes a very sad moment when, the night before the You Rock My World video shoot, Michael was told that they wanted to darken his skin and fill his nose in with putty. Frank said that Michael had a complete breakdown, and wept. “They think I’m ugly,” he kept saying. He said that most times, Michael had a pretty thick skin about all the criticism to his appearance but then other times it really got to him. That was one of those times.

    2. “However, what do you think of Michael’s appearance on his 30th anniversary special, and at the Invincible CD signing at Virgin Records that same year? He looked quite different from the home movies in 2000 or concert photos from 1999. Then, again, on American Bandstand’s 50′s anniversary show in 2002, Michael’s face again appeared as it had pre-2000. It seems in those years, 2000-2001, something was done. He looked puffy in 2000 and then just “different” in 2001.” ~ JUNE

      June, I’m so glad you brought the subject up of Michael’s appearance at the 30th anniversary concert and the surrounding time period. I have often wondered that myself! Whilst I have been a MJ fan since 91 I have to admit to only becoming an informed one AFTER Michael died. In the days following his passing the 30th Anniversary concert was shown here on Australian TV and it was the first time I’d seen it. As I watched it I was puzzled. What was going on with Michael who did not seem quite with it? I thought he must have been drugged at first but as I watched the whole concert over and over again I couldn’t see how he could perform that well if he was drugged.

      Around the same time I saw Dr Arnold Klein on Larry King Live and the penny dropped for me. He seemed to be bragging so hard about his pioneering use of Botox for various cosmetic procedures that you would think he invented the stuff!

      In any event, that seems like the most logical explanation to me. And now Given what Raven shared from Frank Cascio’s book,

      “In Frank Cascio’s book he describes a very sad moment when, the night before the You Rock My World video shoot, Michael was told that they wanted to darken his skin and fill his nose in with putty. Frank said that Michael had a complete breakdown, and wept. “They think I’m ugly,” he kept saying. He said that most times, Michael had a pretty thick skin about all the criticism to his appearance but then other times it really got to him. That was one of those times.” ~ RAVEN

      I can easily see how Michael may have been susceptible to trying out Botox. Luckily for us, he was smart enough to realize that the Botox wasn’t good for him and that “frozen face” period 2001-2 was only temporary. It’s criminal to me that 1. A person as naturally good looking as Michael take Botox and 2. Even worse for a performer who always utilized every weapon in his arsenal to convey his music’s message be unable to use his own facial expressions to do just that.
      I’m also glad that Michael was able to get away from Dr Klein and instead be treated by Dr Patrick Treacy in Ireland. I don’t think its a co-incidence that 2006-7 is the period I think Michael is at his most stunning. It’s really hard to find a bad shot of him. The World Music Awards, the MTV Awards in Japan, Camp Zuma in 2007 and Jesse Jackson’s 60th birthday party – all events where Michael looks superb.

      I’d be really interested to see when Michael started seeing Dr Klein again and matching the photos of his appearance and seeing if it tracks. My impression, and only my impression – I have not researched this yet – is that Michael ramped up his visits to Dr Klein in the last few months of his life and that corresponds to a decline (as much as I hate to say it) in both Michael’s appearance and health.
      As you can probably tell I have a very low opinion about Dr Klein!

      I’d really like to read others thoughts on the ‘frozen face’ period. I do know that both Karen Faye and Frank Cascio have said Michael was recovering from being heavily sedated/drugged at the 30th Anniversary.

      1. I agree to a point although I think he actually looked better than ever in This Is It (but then again, the return of the curls, I think, had a lot to do with that as well). He did seem awfully thin but I thought his face looked really good.

        Amazingly, that 30th Anniversary concert has one of my all-time favorite Billie Jean performances. It was spot on precise, though somewhat sad to watch it now and realize in hindsight it would be his last performance of that song in concert.

        That performance is really a testament to what a great artist he was, along with the night of the bridge collapse in Munich.

        1. Yes, Raven his performance of Billie Jean at the 30th Anniversary was what made me dismiss the idea of him being drugged. Like you say it was one of the best versions of it he did – ever. This was in your Top Ten performances posting you did a couple of years ago wasn’t it?

  6. Raven,
    This post was a slam dunk!! You nailed it, girl, and I totally agree with you! This needed to be said. the comparison photos needed to be shown. I was once like you in that I didn’t necessarily think that older Michael was as beautiful as the younger Michael. I no longer believe this and the picture that did it for me is another one you posted. It’s the 2005 court picture where he’s in the green waist coat, looking down. It turned me into mush!! From that point on, I saw older Michael with completely different eyes. The Italian Vogue and the Ebony photo shoot photos were beyond amazing. I also believe that Michael “without make up” is the most breathtaking example of masculine sexual beauty EVER….Couple that with his voice and once he starts talking, I’m done. I’m just done. (It’s starting to get warm in here….)

    And Joyce, I have a copy of Eliza’s book. It is amazing…

    1. Yes, that’s a beautiful one, too.

      I had a hard time deciding which pics to post because I have so many, and they are all beautiful. I tried to cram in as many as I could (and still have room for the text, lol!).

  7. I love Michael’s face at all ages, his beauty was reflecting his soul, the love he was all about. I agree with Cindy talking about Michael without make-up ! You did a great work Raven, it’s a must read, the comparison photos are amazing !

    1. I can’t take credit for the comparison photos. Those came originally from Dancing With the Elephant and then Vindicating Michael. I am just sharing them with permission from those sites, but yes, they are really amazing.

  8. Raven, I agree with every word. It’s exactly my history.
    Young Michael was beautiful and handsome. But in mature Michael you can see even more this inner light shining that says: You can’t do anything to me anymore, I’m beyond that. I learned all lessons a life can teach me. And this has nothing to do with his complexion or the structure of his nose. Even if he was still very hurt he didn’t let it take him down and change his dreams and attitudes. That’s what his inner light tells me. And this transfers to his facial features and gives him a beautiful appearance.

    1. “But in mature Michael you can see even more this inner light shining that says: You can’t do anything to me anymore, I’m beyond that. I learned all lessons a life can teach me.”

      That phrase nails it; sums up very beautifully exactly what I was trying to convey.

      I once had a very smart artist friend (have not seen her in over 20 years because she moved back to the UK, but we still keep in occasional touch via Facebook) who was very insistent that the most visually artistic faces are not the “perfect” ones but the ones that have character. This is a lot of what I see in Michael’s mature face. There is a beauty there that is not necessarily conventional beauty, but it’s a striking and arresting face that had a beauty all its own.

  9. Thank so much for writing this. For years, I found Michael attractive and was afraid to say so publicly because of toxic environment the media created. He was beautiful, inside and out, which is a rare thing.

  10. This is one of the best articles I have ever read. I feel less alone when I know you are all out there. It takes the same peace and inner strength he had to be passionate and public about sharing seemingly unpopular opinions such as these. If we all did a little bit every day to lead by your example, we would one day triumph over ignorance.

    Much love, and keep up the good work!

  11. Yes, media has displayed an awful portrayal of Michael.
    I too believe he had a minimal amount of facial surgery. I also believe that some of his surgery had more to do with a necessity at times to have surgery due to an auto-immune condition. I don’t think all his surgery has to do with his conscientiousness to look the best he could; for cosmetic value.
    Michael has always been true to his heritage which of course is not skin deep as ignorant people suggest.
    Though we primarily work to enlighten Michael’s values and love for this world, it is good that you shed light on how too many people in this world not only prejudge others; also tend to judge a book by it’s cover.
    ♥ ♥ ♥

    1. “I also believe that some of his surgery had more to do with a necessity at times to have surgery due to an auto-immune condition.”

      That could have well been the explanation for how he looked around 2001, which a lot of people often comment on. This was the only period, to me, where something did look a bit off.

      1. Raven, after reading Karen’s and Cawobeth’s comments, and doing a bit of research, I agree with the statement that some of Michael’s surgery in the 2000-2001 period could have been related to his autoimmune/lupus problems. Prednisone is a recommended treatment for these conditions and a possible side effect is puffiness. Just a bit off-topic, there’s a recent article in Vanity Fair about Klein, the whiner, but mostly from the viewpoint of Pfeiffer, his office manager, and Khilji, his accountant, which truly needs to be rebutted, or at least set straight in the comments section.

  12. Another beautifully written post! The media has now moved on to manipulating images of MJ’s children – their pictures are consistently Photoshopped to make them appear lighter.

    1. That’s disgusting. But by the same token, it seems to me they are always trying to emphasize Blanket’s resemblance to Michael. It’s a very weird, mixed message they seem to be trying to send.

      1. The media, true to form, pick on what seems to them to be the easiest target. Both sons are brown eyed but Michael’s little princess, the green eyed Paris, is that easy target for them. How much simpler is it to sell to the public (and unfortunately even some MJ fans) that this child is not his biological offspring than Blanket, whose resemblance to his Daddy is so strong that even the obnoxious media can’t seem to deny it any longer, or Prince, who they are aware has vitilgo also? They have photoshopped her pictures to make her complexion lighter. And not just the 13 year old Paris, the little 4 year old Paris too. (Anyone who hasn’t seen these photos, Raven let me know and I’ll send you the link to my Facebook album where I’ve stored them)

        It IS disgusting Raven, and extremely cruel to do to a child, any child, but especially one who adores her dad. To quote the late great Whitney Houston “I hate the media for what they do to Michael Jackson. I do hate them!”

    2. Definitely. I came across several photos on the web before – not from the “mainstream” media or the tabloids – where Prince and Paris appeared much more interacial.

      At the same time, it seemed to me that Blanket’s skin has already been made several shades lighter by the media … whatever they said about him did not get my attention.

      1. Here’s a good example of the sort of thing I was talking about. In this video here, where the kids are being interviewed at the Jackson home in Gary, notice how the camera quickly cuts away from Prince and Paris, but lingers on Blanket, emphasizing his facial features:


  13. Hai,

    If I schold believe Lauren Mc Laren, that the return of Christ has changed his face ,due to media. In the 70’s media didn’t want Black on the cover, despite the enormus popularity of HIM.
    I would like to thank the media, that they crucified MJ. It’s sad, but they made the real identity of MJ know!
    GOD also different faces. Is GOD a man or a human? Is GOD black or white!
    Through all his songs,HE let us knew who he was and fought against racism. HE came to Heal the World and wanted to save it! He also predicted the Bible in his songs.
    We should make a letter to the tabloids or present it all over the world about the crucifiction of MJ. Did you know, that Michael, the heavenly name is of Jesus!

  14. Quite simply yours is thee best collective expression of how countless women have felt about Michael for many years. We walked the same path–remembering little Michael, the precocious dynamo with the big voice and adorable face. As time went on, we all witnessed the years of relentless exploitation by the media. We are all “ships passing in the night”.

    Who wasn’t enchanted by him during the J-5 years, blown away at his solo explosion on the music scene, and confused and brain-washed at the sinister methods (like those used by dictators to manipulate a populace) to de-humanize him as his influence and popularity went stratospheric? I remember so many ugly tabloid stories and unflattering photos, and while I still loved his music and always made an attempt to watch any special, or award show he was on, I, too, began to wonder why he was portrayed in such a bizarre light. It was when he disclosed on the Oprah special that he suffered from Vitiligo that I began to feel such a sympathy for him and outrage that people would accuse him of trying to change the color of his skin.

    My life, and probably the lives of millions of others, changed the day he left us. Only after researching the countless articles, books, videos, concert tours, interviews, short films…hearing him laugh, listening to his songs and gradually feeling the depth of his emotion and passion, did I recognize what I had been missing all along. When I saw him in This Is It, I fell completely in love with Michael Jackson, the man, the father, the humanitarian, the champion of children and our planet.

    Pick a favorite MJ era? How do you do that?

    Maturity did give him a confidence and assurance that reached beyond his bravado and powerful stage presence exhibited during his tours. And while the terrible accusations of ’93 and ‘03 hurt him deeply, the experience molded him into an ethereal being who glowed with an inner beauty and radiated a sweetness and love that is impossible to resist. Inner strength comes from time spent in the crucible of fire. And like gold ore taken from the refiner’s fire, he emerged more beautiful and alluring than ever before.
    Michael Jackson brings to life Helen Keller’s moving quote:

    “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

    It matters not what cosmetic changes happened to Michael Jackson. He was graceful, charismatic and pure sensual energy. What made him so irresistible was that he never lost his boyish innocence. He was born “special”. He came here for a reason. He not only changed the face of music and entertainment forever, he “changed” hearts and minds. He made people believe that they could do and be whatever they imagined. What person, living or dead, has been able to affect so many people all over the world in such an astounding way as Michael Jackson has? To me, coming to know him is nothing short of an awakening.

    The comparison photos show almost imperceptible changes. Clever and insightful work! Raven, you have your finger on the pulse of MJ fangirl fandom! Thanks for your heartfelt writing!

    1. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

      Thanks for that beautiful quote! I think there is a certain, nostalgic fondness that we, as a culture, have for the iconic image of young Michael Jackson. But there is also much to be said for the inner beauty and quiet, inner strength that radiated outward and gave him the confidence of his mature years.

      Beautiful post. Thank you!

    2. Such a beautiful, thoughtful comment. Thank you Susan!
      Your quote from Helen Keller is wonderful. It made me look for this quote from Audrey Hepburn that I had saved. I think it describes Michael’s incredible beauty perfectly.

      “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
      For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
      For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
      For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
      For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
      People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived,
      reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
      Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
      you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
      As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands;
      one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.”

    3. First of all excuse my poor english as its not my native language. Then I want to thank Raven for this fantastic article.I can share and agree all the opinions give here about the mature Michael.

      Susan Prout:
      “My life, and probably the lives of millions of others, changed the day he left us. Only after researching the countless articles, books, videos, concert tours, interviews, short films…hearing him laugh, listening to his songs and gradually feeling the depth of his emotion and passion, did I recognize what I had been missing all along. When I saw him in This Is It, I fell completely in love with Michael Jackson, the man, the father, the humanitarian, the champion of children and our planet.”

      I can share the same feeling here. Im contemporary with Michael but only to really discover him after his passing. Of course he was part of my life. His music was always present, but in my country there wasnt so many real news about him except the scandals. So I really got to know the real man thanks for the internet)(sadly) after his passing.

      As many of you here, from all the “eras” of Michael I definitely die for his mature looks. This is so strong that back in 2010 I started to draw from one day to other, discovering a little hability. And the photos I preffer to draw were mostly about the mature Michael. I think he was at this point at the pinnacle of his sexyness as a man in his whole essence without losing his “boyish” being as someone said here. Thats the charm for me, that “letal” combination of personality, angelical face, stunning smile, his eyes..and his masculine different kind of look that is not the masculinity we are used to see in magazines or the media, is exactly what makes me crazy about him. I love this difference and I will always admire this beautiful face and the whole of him.

      BTW excelent work with the photos.. I also did a couple of comparison photos that I posted somewhere in my facebook. Will the rest of people ever admit that Michael didnt changed that much as the media wanted all to believe?

      Thank you all

      1. “…his masculine different kind of look that is not the masculinity we are used to see in magazines or the media, is exactly what makes me crazy about him.”

        I agree 100%. That was also a big part of the point I was trying to make. The media tries to dictate what our standards of beauty/handsomeness/masculinity or femininity are. They try to tell us who/what we are supposed to perceive as sexy, and who we are not. What stumps them in Michael’s case is that despite everything they threw, there were millions who refused to play the game; who saw with their own eyes and thought with their own minds.

  15. I’ve always thought that Michael was very unique looking. He didn’t look ugly or hideous to me at all, like some over-exaggerate and claimed, but unique, and I’m talking about before he died. As a matter of fact, I think Michael was as beautiful in his later years, as he was in his prime. The only difference was he had became more alabaster due to his skin disease and the treatment that it required. I think that what also affected his features was the hairdo from 2001/08ish. If he had went back to curly hair, or like his hair was from 1990-1999, people wouldn’t have thought he’d looked that different. Like when I’d seen This is it, I was sooooo happy with the way his hair was fixed in the film. :))

    1. I think people are often unaware of just how much difference things like hairstyles can make.

      In Michael’s case, there were a lot of factors altering his mature appearance from what the public had been accustomed to in years gone by…straight hair (as opposed to curly), the fact that he had lost, gained, and then lost weight again, the loss of skin pigment, even something so simple as changing makeup. Additionally, even though I’m convinced all of the major cosmetic work he’d ever had done was prior to 1990, I’m sure he continued to have minor procedures such as Botox (well, we know that for a fact now, since the trial). Different medications can even affect how a person’s face looks. (For example, anti-depressants have a tendency to relax and elongate the facial muscles). All of these factors combined contributed to a lot of the changes people “thought” they saw. Then, with the media constantly harping “plastic surgery” it became all too easy to simply attribute the changes we saw to that, and nothing else.

      I often tell my students that cliches’ are a shortcut to thinking. The media, likewise, creates many shortcuts to thinking. They created a huge shortcut to the way the public thought about Michael Jackson.

  16. Thank you again for an awesome blog Raven 🙂

    Some of my favorite pictures, and ones that I look at the most, are the ones of Michael post 2001, especially the ones during the trial. There were a bunch of them in the 1 year death anniversary tribute magazine that was released in 2010 with pictures of him in jeans and with horses and/or elephants. Plus there was a 2002 photo shoot that he did with Gold magazine that appeared in Today’s Black Woman magazine the summer he died. Those pictures of him in jeans or in a suit looking suave and debonair are the best. (I’m not a huge fan of the Captain Crunch look.)

  17. Hello Raven! Wonderful post again.

    I did not have had the time to read all the comments so may be this was touched before. I want to add my 2 cents, please excuse me if does not all seem relevant to your post. 🙂

    When it comes to Michael Jackson’s looks, my approach to it is like that of a child…of wonderment and innocent curiosity because I had not seen a picture of Michael before June 25th! Now, BEAT IT!! 🙂 When I finally saw him, I thought he was an albino and was totally puzzled when I realised that he was black. His face and the changes it underwent (cosmetic surgery or not) make you feel Michael’s face was an extension of his artistry…some of this face art was stunning and some seemed to have gone wrong. Whether we think Michael changed his looks (with or without cosmetic surgery) because of some disorder (as Jermaine Jackson has suggested) or we think it was an artistic choice; irrespective of why he did it when we study Michael’s face, I feel it must be studied like his music, like his lyrics…like his dance…if one day some gifted unbiased person studies that famous face, I am sure it will be a fascinating read like Joe Vogel’s Man in the Music.

    Let me now come to my conclusions about the adorable face of Michael’s…I love it in all phases..my fav. 2007 Ebony photo shoot and Bad era. 🙂

    1) My little research has revealed that Michael suffered from terrible acne even as an adult and was undergoing some painful procedures to get rid of those scars. Well, my sources are the interviews of the idiot Arnold Klein, I know he talks rubbish and contradicts him-self often but as long as he is talking about his field…I think we can trust him(let us not throw the baby with the bath water!). According to Klein, he was injecting Michael’s face with some kind of injections for the scarring. So, Michael’s turning vegetarian (could have resulted in weight loss), his vitiligo, lupus and acne should be considered as factors that affected his looks apart from speculated cosmetic surgery and intentional artistic choices.

    2) I agree that Michael did not have had a lot of invasive surgery (as in structural changes) just a few as you have mentioned. This autopsy report from a tabloid at that confirms it http://www.hlntv.com/slideshow/2011/11/01/michael-jackson-autopsy-file. But in my opinion he tinkered with his nose a bit more, also my gut feeling is that the injections for his acne scars were thinning out his nose (I remember reading it somewhere but can’t find it now).

    3) However, Michael was definitely doing something post History tour around the time he had his children. He may not have been doing invasive procedures but there was something, it could be those fillers or botox injections. He also started wearing a straight hair around this time so that exaggerated the change in looks. Around 2001…during Living with Michael Jackson…his signing of Invincible album in NY…his looks in Rock my world video…do suggest a face where something is not quiet right. With all my respect, I must say he looked like he was wearing a mask…so stiff and unnatural had the face become.
    But around his trial he looked fine again…despite what was going on inside his battered being…he looked regal so the very unnatural look lasted a couple of years. Around this time however, his cheeks had begun to really hollow out and you can see that in his 2006 WMA London appearance, the molestation trial had taken its toll.

    4) However, come 2007 and you see the Ebony photoshoot….absolutely stunning! Of course, its a given that like with all covers these days there was photoshopping done but the pictures take you breath away…Even in 2008 during his Japan visit to the Zama American army camp, Michael looks a stunner in his leather jacket! Then during his 2009 This is it rehearsals as has been widely publicised, he underwent some botox and stuff and he looked a bit chubby in the face, youthful and wonderful.

    5)Finally, vitiligo, does make you look like an albino eventually esp with the treatments (de-pigmentation)Michael was taking to even out his skin. I have no doubt that without make-up he would look really, really pale, so the pictures you are comparing Raven from 1996 and later one, the later one could just have the effect of lighting. I have also read that Michael started wearing lipstick and more accented make-up to give some color to his very pale complexion…makes sense to me. But still I think he was too tasteful to do the kind of make-up that I have seen on some tabloid covers. Is it not a possibly that the bad tabloid pictures we saw, were photoshopped to make him look weird?

    So, to sum it up. Michael Jackson in my opinion did not do many structural changes to his face (only nose and cleft)…he might have tinkered with the nose a bit more (or as I mentioned the injections for scars could have resulted in thinning of the nose). However, over the years esp post History, Michael did use non-invasive procedures…around the start of 2000 decade their effect was rather unflattering but over time, he looked gr8!

    1. You hadn’t seen a photo of him before June 25th, 2009? Wow!

      I have often likened his condition with vitiligo to that of albinoism. I don’t think that is too far off base. Michael had opted for total depigmentation, which is a last resort option that many with universal vitiligo over 50% of their body opt for. So basically, we’re talking the complete loss of skin pigment, which is also what albinoism is. Oprah Winfrey said that looking at Michael was like looking at someone translucent; that you could see all the way through to the blue veins. Unobservant (and, I might, add, ignorant)people will often try to argue that he changed to be “white” but the truth is that he was never white at all-he was totally devoid of pigment! Obviously, Caucasion skin has pigment. Just look at any photo of Michael next to a “white” person and you can see the difference.

      Of course, sometimes photos of him WERE intentionally lightened to make it seem even more obvious and to make him appear even more “ghoul like.” I don’t know that I would go so far as to say that all of the ones with the garish makeup were photoshopped-perhaps some were. But obviously, photos can be darkened or lightened in ways to accentuate whatever the publication wishes to accentuate.

  18. Posted by BJ:


    I love the comparisons of Michael and your viewpoint on how the media attempted to make him look so bad to the public eye. Your words express exactly as I feel! Thank you for putting it all into perspective and allowing other fans to nod their heads in agreement!
    If only non-fans would take the time to read this, they would have to agree that Michael was not an ugly, self absorbed person wanting to appear like a white man and whatever other trash they set out to expose him of. I hope in my lifetime, I will see Michael’s name restored and his humanitarian efforts “out of the closet” where the media put them.
    Bless you, beautiful one, for this lovely blog. You’ve made my heart smile!

    1. BJ, I have reposted your comment because I think you may have accidentally posted it to the wrong article. It was posted on the Michael and Wordsworth story but, judging from the content, I think it was intended for this article. Either way, in case I was wrong, I left the original there and re-posted it here as well. If I made that judgement call in error, let me know and I will correct it.

  19. My plenty gratitude for this amazing and inteligent article!
    Great job!!

    God bless you and Michael is smiling!

    Myrna Ramos.
    Mexico, D.F. México.

  20. Raven.. great article!Everyone else great comments!. I have always considered Michael Jackson an extremely attractive man and I did find the older Michael particularly so. Being somewhat older than him I never thought of him in a “sexy” way , but there is no doubt about it.. he oozed sex appeal.

    Just one point that does tend to get overlooked.Michael’s appearance (cosmetic surgery or not) changed as part of the natural ageing process that happens to us all . Those changes may be quite subtle, but I doubt most of use will have our faces so well documented as Michael did , so this may have also contributed to, and helped to convince “us” that he was constantly changeing his appearance.

    Believe me, when you get to your mid-sixties like me, the changes happen more quickly and aren’t quite so subtle !!

  21. What a wonderful blog post! I loved reading it, and it was so eye-opening 🙂 I’ve always loved ‘mature’ Michael the best, and don’t let the media sway me into thinking differently. Michael was always so beautiful and it’s a shame we were told to think differently just because his skin was a different colour.

    ***Just as a side note, when you compared the two photos from 1996 and 2005 (the yellow shirt, and black jacket) at the end the two photos are both from the 90s. Although I think the one on the left was from the late 90s 🙂

    1. That particular segment of the article (the comparison photos) are from sanemjfan’s article on Vindicating Michael, “How To Recognize and Refute The Fallacies Used By Michael Jackson Haters.” That segment (up to just past that comparison photo in question, where it says “End of Excerpt” I pretty much simply pasted from his original article). I will check on the dates of the photos just to verify. Thank you for pointing this out.

  22. Excellant blog and I love the comparison photos. I have never thought he had any facial surgery besides the nose and chin cleft. The photos prove it.

    I have not seen much lately but unfortunately, the criticism continues. I watched a 20/20 show on plastic surgery. They stated that blacks do not have as much ps as other ethnicities and when they do; it has changed from previous years. They used to bring in a picture of a caucasian nose but now they want a scaled down version of their nose…an ethnic nose. Black plastic surgeons were interviewed and a before and after of a black woman was shown.

    Someone stated that they are no longer victims of what is known as “The Michael Jackson Syndrome”. Of course, pics of his changing face are shown. It was unexpected and I was disappointed to see/hear that.

    I just wonder if that is something they made up or if it is an actual term used by plastic surgeons.

    1. I hope not. What’s really sad is when they interview people who are supposedly professional surgeons and you hear them giving all of these ridiculously exaggerated numbers about how many procedures they “think” Michael had done (of course, they never actually know the exact number, and never mind that they never met Michael and that their educated guesses are based on some random photo-which, as we know, could just as easily be a photoshopped pic or at the very least, a poor example to use). I’m sure most of these people are probably paid-and paid well-for their expert “opinions” on the subject.

      And with the possible exception of Patrick Treacy, these people never had any respect for Michael. He was just a dollar sign to them. There is a story concerning one particular plastic surgeon who, while Michael was under from the anesthesia, lifted up his gown and took a peek at his junk just to satisfy his own curiosity. “Damn!” he reportedly remarked, “I hope that isn’t going to waste!”

      I don’t doubt that this story is probably true, and just goes to show what he had to put up with from people at every turn, even under a doctor’s care in an environment where he is supposed to be able to feel safe and secure. What that surgeon did was an extreme violation of ethics and of a patient’s rights-but then again, that shouldn’t surprise. It was eventually that very thing which would kill him.

      Sorry to get off topic, but your comment made me think of that story.

    2. I had a feeling that would happen and that’s one of the reason I knew I wouldn’t watch the show. Did a DOCTOR actually look under Michael’s gown?? WTH??? God, I hope that’s not really true!

      1. Theresa Gonsalves told that story in her book Remember The Time. If memory serves me (I don’t have the book right in front of me at the moment) she was working at the time as a receptionist in that doctor’s office.

        I have also heard that same story from at least one other source, though they may have simply been repeating it from Theresa’s book.

  23. BTW…Ilove the Thriller era pic of Mike in the dark suit and had it on my desktop. When I tried to use it as an avatar; I found out it was a PS. That is definitely his face though.

  24. “Although Michael was beautiful just the way Mother Nature made him, let’s face it, the truth is, he did go through a very awkward stage in adolescence. His first nose job, in my opinion, WAS A MAJOR IMPROVEMENT and gave his self-esteem a much needed boost.” – Raven

    What did Michael’s ACNE and changing voice have to do with his original nose? Is anyone aware that Michael’s most famous nose job, rudely referred to as his Peter Pan nose, was done between Thriller and the Victory tour? Please no one say it wasn’t noticeable because of his darker skin.

    Here’s my confession: I have PROUDLY been a fan of Michael from day one. By the time Michael used makeup to even his skin out and hairpieces, weaves, and wigs to cover the 3rd degree burn he never recovered from (newsflash: this began in the BAD ERA), I was so in love with the person on the INSIDE that his physical appearance and the media’s lies NEVER deterred my physical attraction to him.

    The black man and black woman’s beauty, sexuality, culture, traditions, etc. were considered confusing at the dawn of slavery. When people get confused, they feel threatened. Often, when a person feels threatened by a person or situation, they make themselves feel superior to prevent their immediate feelings of inadequacy.

    The media has tried to paint Michael (and his brothers and his parents whether anyone believes it or not) as inadequate since he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Do you remember the “rivalry” with the less talented Osmond brothers? How about when the American media did not report the success of the Jackson Five in Europe and how they toppled the Beatles’ success at the time? Michael was a “cute” kid then but, he was allowed to be; he wasn’t a threat at the time.

    Fast forward to Thriller and Michael was a professional success who single handedly SAVED the music industry (research it and you will see it is true). Coupled with the fact that he was a strikingly beautiful, wealthy, and powerful man that women of all cultures became sexual interested in made him a threat overnight. It is not strange “weird” stories about him became prevalent. What is strange (and horribly sad) is how many people brought into it.

    I agree if you tell a lie often enough, people believe it but, you have to ask why do those people believe it and OTHERS do not. IMO, the answer is in the comments; white girls/women were raised to believe they were somehow inferior (trash) if they were sexually attracted to a black man. The “white-male-owned” media tried to “save” white girls/women by telling them that Michael was a freak of nature and not worthy of their attraction (the same way they say George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, etc, etc, etc, is). The question is: why believe it?

    I am not judging anyone here. I truly appreciated all of the honesty that has been posted. I am just concerned that if the media can somehow make you believe that Michael wasn’t attractive when THEY felt he wasn’t (aka, when he stopped being a non-threatening child), then what else are they making you believe about other people and situations?

    Michael’s “beautiful” pictures were NEVER hidden. All of his photos were always available for people to enjoy if they chose to. His videos were always aired somewhere and he appears on all of his CD covers.

    When you look at MJ’s mug shot again, notice that Michael’s eyes are looking slightly up and directly into the camera. He never held his head down his whole life and that was the biggest threat of all.

    1. His first nose job was much earlier than Thriller. It was done in 1979, as has been verified by several sources including Michael himself.

      I do very much agree that Michael’s appeal to women-especially to white women-was viewed as a threat, and I think this was why his appeal was constantly downplayed.

      I realize that his more attractive photos from his mature years were out there, but the difference was that before 2009, I wasn’t going out of my way to seek them (and let’s face it, that’s what one had to do). I’m sure his diehard fans knew where to look for them. But for the biggest majority of us, all we knew were what was presented to us day in and day out. Plus, I had to be in the right place mentally, emotionally, etc to really be able to open my eyes and appreciate them. Maybe it took losing him to make that happen, and that’s one of my biggest regrets, which I’ve been very honest and candid about here. I would probably say the same for many other celebrities. For most, it’s not really a question of whether the media is shaping how I view them. It’s more a question of whether I care enough to even raise the question and to look any deeper. The bottom line is that most people really DON’T care; they are too busy with their own lives other concerns. In my case, I would see only the most “freakish” looking photos of Michael on TV or on the covers of tabloids while checking out at the grocery line, etc., always accompanied by the latest “Wacko Jacko” headline. That sort of thing DOES create an image in the mind, if it’s done enough times-and especially if one doesn’t bother to look past that. At the time, I simply didn’t have enough interest invested in Michael Jackson to look any deeper than that.

      My story isn’t intended to serve as every fan’s experience. It is MY personal journey about how I came to discover, to love, and to appreciate Michael’s mature beauty. It is what it is.

      I know what you mean about reaching a point where you loved him from the inside out and that none of the rest of it mattered. I am at that point now, but I wasn’t always. I had liked him as a kid; liked his music as a teen; went through my little infatuation, but then moved on and became more of a hard rocker and metalhead. In essence, I had to “reconnect” to him again. But that reconnection has been one of the most powerful and life-altering experiences of my life. This blog was born as a result of me trying to make sense of that. But I can’t really over-analyze a thing like that too much, either. Again, I’ve had to accept that it is what it is.

      Although I am much more savvy now to how the media operates, I am sure that in many subtle ways, my perceptions of people are still being very much shaped by what I see, hear, and read. It is unavoidable to some extent. But these days, I am not so quick to judge people based simply on what the media feeds us. I’ve become a lot more open minded and a lot more interested in hearing ALL sides before I judge. What I know now happened with Michael has been instrumental in bringing about that change.

      1. When I quoted your comment above, you were referring to his first nose job and I am responding to that in the first sentence. In the second sentence I am referring to his most famous (and last major reconstructive) nose job. Sorry if I confused anyone but, hopefully the point is clear.

        The picture of him in the red vest was during the trial. On acquittal day, Michael was wearing a black blazer with an emblem, black tie, and no vest and did not really stand long enough for photots (he was a fast mover for obvious reasons). A “hint” for an acquittal photo is that he held onto his mother’s arm (she’s was wearing a white blazer) in most shots of him leaving the courtroom.

        Raven, this subject still saddens me but, I thank you again for your honesty about your experience and your reply.

        1. Yes, I noticed that too. The photo with the red vest was not taken on the day of acquittal. Michael looked very shattered on that day–what an ordeal to have to show up and not know if that evening you would be behind bars and without your children all because of lies!!

          1. Thanks for your sharp eyes, and for the correction. I’m not sure what led me to believe that photo was from Verdict Day (probably a mislabeling) but I have now corrected that reference in the post.

            I do remember Aphrodite Jones telling me that when he heard the verdict read, a change came over him and he walked out of that court room like he was “walking on air.” So maybe some of that heaviness was lifted that day.

    1. Yeah, but different emails and different IP, so it’s ok, lol.

      It will hold your comment in the que if you are a first time poster, or if it’s been awhile or your email/IP has changed. I usually try to check comments first thing every morning and then several times throughout the day. I saw that you got held, so I apologize as I was a bit later than usual getting to my comments this morning.

  25. “For most, it’s not really a question of whether the media is shaping how I view them. It’s more a question of whether I care enough to even raise the question and to look any deeper.”

    Hey there! This is the “other” Cindy! LOL I cosign this. I agree with you Raven and it mirrors my personal experience. I can’t totally blame the media for this. A lot of this rests on me, period. Not a proud realization, but it’s true nevertheless.

    I also think as I get older and my attitudes “mature,” my ideas about physical and spiritual beauty change too. Young me loved Michael because he was “dreamy,” but over 40 me loves Michael for his loving heart and gentle spirit. Older Michael is still gorgeous in my eyes, but his aura is so much more pronounced. (Maybe becoming a father or his personal tribulations contributed to this?) It’s like you can see the love and compassion radiate off of him and it’s simply mesmerizing to me.

    1. I agree with this. Young Michael was very cute, in an innocent puppy dog kind of way, but he didn’t yet have that aura that would come with age. Of course, everything that he went through also created a kind of vulnerability-it made women want to protect him, and inspired his fans to fiercely defend him. Something about him was so very fragile, and yet so tough at the same time.

  26. I can relate to so many things you said. Lovely blog.
    I myself fell in love with “Off The Wall” Michael,
    and later Michael was turning more and more beautiful,
    too beautiful even, like perfect Angel type,
    but I was not “lusting” over him in the middle of his
    career because I was after more rough types for *that*.
    However, it was strange people called him names as he was
    beautiful, just beautiful.
    With age he actually started to look more “masculine” to me,
    more often I could see that great wisdom and strength in his eyes,
    that inner warrior you know, still shining but now in a different
    way, when he became a father he turned simply irresistible,
    so I started to “lust” over him again, but all that is nothing
    compared to great Love I feel, most of all he provokes Love in his
    fans. If you are open to Love, you will have your eyes opened.
    Aren’t we blessed our eyes are wide open 🙂

    Media is evil, if more people realized that, the media beast
    would starve and disappear. It’s up to us to stop feeding them
    and their vile lies.

    1. Your experience really seems to mirror mine. And I think what you said here helps explain what I was trying to say in a previous comment. “If you are open to love, you will have your eyes opened.” I became “open to love.”

  27. Hello again!
    I was reading an article about a very talented girl who committed suicide because she suffered from severe depression due to acne. Then I was reading comments about what people had to say, I am copying a few here:

    “You have no idea how brutal it is to have acne. The comments people make. They burn into your memory. Even at 40 I remember the names and it has severely impacted my self-esteem. You know that is all anyone sees when they first look at you. In this day and age of perfection and bullying, how did this poor girl stand a chance? In this day and age of medical advancements, nobody should have to suffer from severe acne. My heart goes out to her family.”
    – Scarred

    “This is so so sad. Poor girl. I had extreme acne that was pretty much incurable from the age of 13 to 22. It was worst from 14-18 and I was extremely depressed, it is absolutely horrific for ones self esteem and now at nearly 30, I am still a little damaged psychologically. RIP young lady.”

    “As someone who suffers from “dark episodes” my heart goes out to this girls parents.. Unfortunately in this increasingly cosmetic viewed world beauty is seen as only skin deep and not many people tend to look at the person underneath before they judge them…”

    “How horrific. I had severe acne in my early 20s and it was horrible. I would have perfect strangers comment, and even had my doctor ask me why it took me “so long” to see him about it. I wish people were more compassionate and less judgemental. Perfection doesn’t exist in society, although it is manufactured. May she rest in peace.”

    Why I am writing this? Because, it made me think hard….ACNE was really, really a BIG problem for Michael Jackson. If this is how ordinary people feel, how damaging it would be for Michael. He clearly said in Moonwalk, acne is what altered his personality and he changed for this confident kid to this ultra shy guy with a poor self esteem.

    Just look at the terrible cocktail: severe acne, global fame, no childhood, being constantly photographed and harsh judgement and jokes even from ur own dad :-/

    I think the MJ we know would have been very different in a way if he had no acne at all! I hate ACNE! 🙁

    But then all things happen for a reason…

    1. I think a lot of people don’t realize just how bad Michael’s teenage acne actually was. The middle photo that is featured on this website really gives a good indication:


      Something I’ve noticed about the Jackson family: They are very prone to teasing each other about their looks. In the David Gest documentary, there is old home movie footage where Tito is teasing Randy about being “the ugliest Jackson.” Tito asks Randy how he got to be so ugly, and Randy shoots back, “I take after my big brother Tito.” Michael used to tease Jermaine about his acne (he called him “Rocky Road Face”) and he would tease Janet about her butt and “funky thighs.” So it seemed like this was just something the whole family did; the siblings especially seemed to enjoy good-natured teasing with each other about their looks. But the problem is that, even though they might laugh it off, sometimes these things do scar children more emotionally than they may let on.

      Something seemed to change in Michael as he entered adolescence. If you recall, the movie “The Jacksons: An American Dream” depicted this quite accurately. He seemed to become more sensitive and withdrawn. This was probably the age at which he could no longer just laugh the teasing off. I don’t think all of the Jackson kids were as sensitive as Michael. Sometimes parents forget that all of their children are individuals, and that maybe what you can get away with with one child, you may not be able to with another. Some kids just have thicker skin than others. But it’s an important lesson for parents to keep in mind. No parent should ever tease a child about their appearance. It’s bad enough if siblings do it to each other, but one can kind of excuse that since siblings, being close in age, are at the same level of maturity. A parent is not-and a parent should know better. Even if their child laughs now, that doesn’t mean they aren’t leaving scars that will come back to haunt later.

      1. You r right. All children are different. I have only 2 and God how different they are! Michael mentioned this in moonwalk, he said Randy or Marlon (I think) had pimples 2 but he wud not care but Michael could just not take it. He was sensitive like a Harp…it helped in creativity but socially in life over sensitivity is a lill problem.

        Although I have never understood one thing, all Jacksons have broad noses, why would Michael esp. get teased for his nose?

      2. I think the teasing was pretty damaging and sometimes probably went beyond ‘teasing.’ Sometimes people say things they know will hurt and when you try and speak up they say you can’t take a joke or you are too sensitive instead of facing the fact that they should not hurt others with cruel and demeaning words. The other point is that Michael always spoke of his loneliness even though he had a large group of sibs and I think he could not talk to any of his family members in depth about his thoughts and feelings. Many families do not encourage the sharing of thought and feelings–it is all surface conversation, if there is even any conversation at all. Would anyone in that family have been able to write Dancing the Dream, or Stranger in Moscow–or have that sensibility? Did any of them have a private library of 20,000 books or read a book a day? I don’t think so. This is not to put them down, but they were not on the same wavelength as Michael so he could not share with them.

        1. I agree with you. Michael had a certain sensitivity and sensibility about things that the rest of the family simply did not seem to possess (that includes Janet). Although I will say that I did hear Joe say something once that totally surprised me. Someone asked him what was his favorite of all the songs Michael did as an adult artist, and he said, “That song he did about the animals.” Lol. Typically, Joe couldn’t even remember the name of the song! But I knew he was referring to Earth Song. It just struck me as kind of strange, for Joe, that he would single out Earth Song as his favorite. I would have expected him to say one of Michael’s more dance oriented or pop songs-something closer to what he did with The Jackson 5-but certainly not Earth Song. I couldn’t imagine ol’ Joe having the capacity to appreciate something like Earth Song, but apparently he did.

          That quote just always kind of stood out to me.

          1. Hi, Raven, yes, I do remember that surprising comment by Joe. I also read somewhere that Joe loved animals and Michael thought he got his love of animals from Joe. Now I was surprised to hear Joe loved animals as he does not seem to have any pets, but if Michael said he did, it must be true! Thanks for your comments. I do not mean to put down the other family memebers, just to say that I think Michael was of a different sensibility, and I think you got that, so thanks!!

  28. Do you know what I think? I have read all these passionate responses, I have defended MJ so staunchly for so many years and grow weary of it – it puts me in mind of the very best comment I ever read in response to a dig about his face – This wonderful fan – goodness knows who she was or whether she will ever know how much she impressed me wrote something along the lines of ‘if you’re so hung up and fascinated about Michael Jackson’s nose jobs – go get one yourself or just shut-up’
    That pretty much describes how I feel now and would just like to add that whatever MJ wanted to do with his own body and his own face – was entirely his perogative. All we need do – is sit back lovingly and adore him, in every shade of colour and every era that we were lucky enough to have him. I love the cute boy, the shy adolescent, the young sexy Off the Wall man, the gorgeous Bad and Dangerous guy, the legend in the Gold Pants with the gold wedding ring to match – but most of all I love MJ the mature man – he is all that is beautiful to me, both inside and out – the whole package. There isn’t a part of his body I wouldn’t worship. L.O.V.E to all ‘Michael people’ who are helping to change the world xx

    1. I found myself in the position once again, just the other night, of having to defend Michael’s appearance. There were people at work making remarks about him. This one young guy was saying something to the effect that his dad looked like Michael Jackson but was quick to add that he did not look like him. “I sure am glad,” he said, and then this girl says in response, “For real.” Of course, I was hearing all of this and getting hotter under the collar by the minute. I spoke up and said, “Michael was beautiful.” The girl just looked at me funny and said, “Yeah, maybe before the surgery.” I said, “No, that’s not what I meant. Michael was beautiful his whole life-he was beautiful inside and out.” Then I told them how the media always just used the worst pics of him that they could; basically, just a very condensed version of everything I wrote here. But I don’t know if I even made a dent. I could tell the general consensus was that I was just someone who didn’t have all my marbles together. The whole episode just made me very sad, and frankly, left me feeling very tired, as well. It just seems such an uphill, losing battle sometimes to try to undo all of the damage that has been unfairly done to this man. Sometimes I feel hopeful and at other times utterly defeated. I guess we all go through that. The only thing we can do is to keep putting the truth out there, when we can, in whatever way we can; through whatever small seeds we can plant. We just have to keep on keeping on.

      1. I just love the fact that you tried to get through to them. It may have fallen on deaf ears, but I can respect your desire to speak up nevertheless.

  29. Thank you! I thought Michael was GORGEOUS during the trial. It’s funny, the newsreporters criticizing Michael’s face are the ones who’ve had 5 facelifts in the past 6 months; who are they to talk? I don’t think he looked all that great between 2007-2009, but before then, yes, he was great looking, but not so much during the history era. I actually liked Michal better AFTER the surgeries because I feel that that’s when his true personality starting coming out.

    1. I know a lot of his female fans will say they thought he was most attractive during the Bad era (myself included; I have a weakness for Bad/Dangerous and his mature era) and yet, as has been pointed out, almost all-if not all-of the major procedures he would ever have done had already been done by that point. All of the adulation for these later eras is partly what inspired me to write this; just from wondering, What is it we all see that the media never seemed to get? I thought he was beautiful as he entered his mature years, but it did take adopting a totally different mindset and new set of eyes, one that managed to shake off what I had been conditioned to believe by years’ worth of media brainwashing.

  30. I have been a MJ fan for as long as I can remember (I’m 25) and I never really looked at him in a romantic light but when I was 19 and he was in his 40s was when I looked at him and saw how absolutely SEXY he was. I’ve always thought he was gorgeous and handsome but never did I think of him in a sexual way. But seeing him and his lithe body, his eyes, his big hands those full lips made a HUGE impact and I finally realized, I was in love with him. Unfortunately, him being my firstnlofe and never having had to express that love has left some big shoes to fill….to have such an absolutely gorgeous, kind, beautiful person as Michael Jackson be the first to hold my heart is a blessing. Thank you for expressing your feelings for Michael’s beauty. He was a gift and I’m glad to have found another person who feels the same for this misunderstood man

  31. The media did do their damnest to turn people against Michael, esp.in USA and UK. WHY??? I guess they thought it would sell better. They did Michael enormous damage and hurt the entire society by making it ok to be vicarious bullies. I wish Michael had lived to see the Murdock empire under fire for all their BS and criminal activities, to see them actually close newspapers due to uproar over phone hacking scandals. There are big court cases coming up in UK. There are over 300 victims of phone hacking. The media’s bottom feeding methods are now under scrutiny, and this is what Michael wanted when he campaigned to ‘Stop Filthy Press.’ But it wasn’t only the tabloids. Look at Diana Sawyer asking how could anyone marry Michael or be sexually attracted or even in love with him? Her stupid comment, How weird can it get? Yes, Diane, how weird can it get when a beautiful, sexy man is someone no one can marry or fall in love with–that’s pretty weird!!!

  32. Because of “medias” (and paparazzi, etc.), Michael wrote the song Monster. Listen to the words, he’s in fight… The Monster has many eyes, they are the cameras’ lens and the monster is hidden in the brain of those who are hunting and trying to take some of those bad pictures to trap him.
    Thank you for this superb compilation of our angel’s

    1. It’s how the medialoid operates. Just the other evening, while standing in line at the grocery check-out, I saw a tabloid with Kirstie Alley on the cover. They have had a field day with poor Kirstie and her weight struggles. Sure, she’s fat but so what? You can tell they are going out of their way to have the absolute worst, most unflattering shots imaginable in order to grace their covers. It’s so that people will look at the cover and go “Yuck!” They create a public mindset of what is ugly or grotesque, and then convince the public to buy it. It is really a kind of fascinating study in psychology. We “see” what we become programmed to see. And we are a society that loves to laugh and point. It’s the same mechanism that compels us as children to do it on the playround, so that we can make ourselves feel superior via peer acceptance. As adults, we simply learn to suppress this instinct in polite company, but we convert it into our paparazzi fascination with celebrities. The tabloids are garbage but it is just like people say: if the public would stop reading them, they would go out of business. Obviously, people do read them, and they continue to thrive. And one way they thrive is to continue this sick compulsion to laugh and point, and to kick those who are down. Or, as in some cases, managing to create the downfall itself.

      What amazed me the most when I really opened my eyes and started to observe Michael’s mature photos was, as I stated, the discovery that not only did he NOT look like a freak to me, but was actually quite handsome. Granted, my taste in men has always been a little off center and off the beaten path. I am rarely, for example, physically attracted to the kind of men who make lists like People Magazine’s “50 Sexiest Men” because those are usually just cookie-cutter Hollywood types that every woman is expected to swoon over. There has always been a bit of a rebel in me that resents the idea of being “told” who is and is not supposed to be attractive to me. Even as a teenager, I was always the one who would go for the pale, skinny goth guy who looked-on-the-verge-of death, rather than the tanned, muscle bound hunks that society dictated to me that I was supposed to find attractive. But I am certainly not alone in my tastes! When I started to discover that millions of women all over the world, just like me, found mature Michael sexy and attractive, it was a kind of liberation in a sense.

  33. I was watching” Entertainment Tonight”-just last week.They were covering these latest “Ebony shoots” of Michael-yet(of course had a ?M.D. on the sideline of the interview-)stating he has had at least 50!surgeries on his nose-at which time one of the hosts of the show,laughed and repeated his comment!Throwing that good old negativity, against some beautiful pictures from Vogue or Ebony of Michael…brought out my disgust,as usual at the media!

    1. Yes, that’s what I was talking about when I said they’re not going to give up the ghost that easily. Expect to hear these kinds of snarky comments with every media review. They will do their best to tear down whatever good this doc is trying to accomplish.

  34. Hi Raven,

    I have just stumbled across this and I wanted to say thank you for posting such an amazingly positive and accurate view on Michael!

    Like you, I sadly only really got to know (and love) him properly after his death and it is so refreshing to hear a nice story about him rather than the usual tabloid rubbish we are fed.

    He was an exceptionally beautiful, fascinating, talented and misunderstood man and, like his brother Marlon said at his memorial in 2009, “maybe now Michael, they will leave you alone”. We can only hope that one day this will be true.

    Thank you again and remember, “it’s all for love… L.O.V.E”

    Ailsa 🙂 xx

  35. This is one of the most incredible Michael Jackson related pieces I have ever read. You put into words what I’ve been trying but failing to explain to my friends and family for YEARS. Just, THANK YOU. Thank you thank you thank you! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. And for being so honest and articulate. And providing gorgeous visual evidence ;D I’m saving this as a document on my laptop to read again and again. I’m going to make my friends and family members who always make fun of me for being attracted to Mature Mike read this and eat their god damn words! Again, thank you for this. My heart swelled with love and pride at being an MJ fan while I read this. And I respect you so much for putting this together. You are amazing!
    Natalie x 🙂

    1. Thanks, Natalie. Receiving your comment also gave me a chance to go back to this article and do some much needed fixing of a lot of old typos that I hadn’t caught before.

      He was indeed gorgeous his entire life.

  36. I have just discovered your blog here and this was written several years ago – this entry about mature Mike. You said it so eloquently and I thank you for that. I’m so glad people like you out there take the time to point out such things, and especially your point that the media refused to allow him his sex symbol status, and why – racism ultimately. They couldn’t handle that women of every creed and color wanted him. LOL Too damn bad.

    Again, great blog entry. Could not have said it better myself. And the pics? I love them. I’ve seen most of them, but the one in the brown leather jacket? Jeez I’m so in love.

    1. Thank you Phoebe. I saw that your comment posted twice, so I didn’t know if you attempted to post twice or if there was a glitch. All comments from first time posters are held for moderation, so if/when you post again, your comments should appear automatically from now on.

  37. Bless you!
    Living in Austria, we only got the bad ones too. I never knew they did this on purpose, but I still loved him.
    I still have and cherish two of his albums I bought in the 80’s, yes I am old, and they are the big black disks.

  38. Thank you, Raven, for providing a spark of truth in this ocean of lies.
    Like you, till his death, I haven’t actually known Michael Jackson. Even though, in my country (France), Michael Jackson wasn’t “Wacko Jacko” but “Michael Jackson the phenomenon”; he was quite respected here, before his death, actually. As a child and pre-teen, I found Michael Jackson cute and a little bit eccentric with his huge sunglasses. Even though I didn’t find him hideous, I had never perceived him as a sexy man. He was really different, definitely one of a kind. When he passed away, my teenage self felt really bad about his death and watched/listened his most iconic songs such as “Rock with you”, “Human nature” or “You are not alone”.
    Then, I grew up and I’ve became a young woman. One day, several months ago, I was listening to Michael Jackson’s songs again and, as an adult and a nearly bilingual one, I’ve literally fallen in love with Michael Jackson : I’ve realized that he really was a great singer, vocalist and songwriter who meant every lyric while he was singing. I’ve felt his joy and enthusiasm in “Can You Feel It” and “Black or White”, his sadness and solitude in “Stranger in Moscow” and “Who is it”, his anger and exasperation in “Leave Me Alone”, “Scream” and “Tabloid Junkie”, and his philanthropy in “Man in the Mirror”, “Earth Song” and “They don’t care about us”. I’ve found him breathtakingly handsome, sexy and attractive when he was in his twenties and thirties, but I’ve struggled to find him like that when he was in his forties and early fifties because of the unflattering photos the medias kept spreading. While I was watching a video of the 2003 BET awards, I’ve found Michael Jackson classy and attractive, though. I’ve found him handsome and attractive in the One More Chance video, too. I’ve watched the photos of Michael Jackson during the 2005 trial, afterwards. And… I couldn’t believe I’ve still found the so called “freak” attractive and handsome ! After watching him during his travel to Japan , in 2006, I’ve definitely found mature Michael Jackson as charming and handsome as he was till the end of the nineties. He did have changed, but he didn’t became hideous. I miss this sweet man so much. RIP, Michael Jackson !

    1. Thanks for sharing your journey. Michael was sexy at every stage of his adult career, but in different ways. For example, in youth he had that irresistibly shy sexiness of a boy coming into manhood. But in his maturity, he had that confident swagger which was even sexier. Now, I am most fascinated with the entire evolution of Michael Jackson’s appearance, and frankly don’t think I would find him half so entrancing if he hadn’t gone through those changes (even if, albeit, he never changed as much as the media proclaimed).

  39. My favorite Michael Jackson looks, as a straight male, was the Bad Era 1987, and Off The Wall Era 1980.
    I know different women find different looks attractive and I appreciate the fact that you found 2000s’ MJ handsome, but I would have liked it if Michael hadn’t lost weight in adulthood and his face didn’t definize to the exact it did.
    Much of that was due to his workaholic tendencies, lack of sleep, and not eating enough, and much of that was due to excessive make up as you said.
    I guess his skin color played a huge part in it, but I feel like he should have stayed the skin tone he did in the Bad era, looking like a light-skinned African American man. He didn’t need to go the excessive make-up rout, I think, unless he had a skin cancer scare or something.
    Even though he might have looked handsome to you and countless other women in his later years, I feel like he still had a dramatic transformation which he could have avoided if he took better care of his body. Maybe he would have still been alive now.
    I just wish he took better care of his body and stayed healthy enough to account for his ridiculous work ethic.

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