Fact Vs. Fiction
Dispelling the Rumors

  by Debbie on Reflections of the Dance

After learning how negligent and non-professional in performing CPR Dr. There has been so much written about and reported on Michael Jackson, that it has become nearly impossible for the public to really know the truth.

In life, mystery and scandal seemed to follow him and even now in death, still much is being written about him. Most of which is speculation and appears to be sad attempts at boosting a show's ratings. These are examples of very poor, irresponsible journalism.

As in most things, truth prevails if you take the time to research and look beyond the surface. The problem is, most of us don't have time nowadays to research in-depth everything we hear on the news, on television shows and what we read in the newspaper.

Our lives have come down to listening to and processing the sound bytes we hear. We try to stay informed and we rely on the media to keep us informed and to be truthful. But that is not always, sadly, the case.

One simple question for you. Would you rather have people knowing who you are by getting to know you and listening to what you say and what those who know you best say about you, or would you be okay with others judging how you are and who you are as a person, by their hearing and seeing sound and video bytes of your life and hearing rumors? Michael deserves the same respect.

Included here are quotes and stories from people who knew Michael, excerpted from various publications, as well as some of Michael's words about himself in Moonwalk.

The Rumors vs. The Truth

Skin bleaching/whitening/wanting to be "white"/vitiligo

Michael was often accussed of wanting to become "more white" or "turning white" "bleaching his skin". If you want to know the truth, read, research and watch the videos. Look at the pictures. Michael told us he suffered from Vitiligo. Many didn't listen. Many instead criticized and called him names. Knowledge is so important. Seek out the truth.

Proof in photos and video, that Michael Jackson did indeed, suffer from Vitiligo. He was diagnosed with both Vitiligo, and Lupus, in the mid 1980's. Michael suffered reportedly from the type of lupus that affects only the skin and not the internal organs.

Very important video to watch. Includes testimony from Donny Osmond, who was a good friend of Michael's. Confirming that he did have the skin disease, Vitiligo. Also testimony from his makeup artist, Michael himself and others. Includes some footage of his interview with Oprah.

"I am a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am....I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of my skin. It's something that I cannot help."
Michael Jackson

TV news anchor Lee Thomas talks about and shows his Vitiligo and explains why he understands Michael Jackson's struggle with the disease. Thomas' hands turned white and he explains that if his face and body turns more white, that he will have to switch from the black cover-up makeup, to white.

An example of another man who suffers from vitiligo. Not only does his skin change from black to pale white, but his features appear different as well due to the skin color change.

A very similar comparison. If you look closely, outside of his nose being different and a different haristyle, you will notice that he still has the same eyes, same lips (though his lips in the more recent photo had lipstick to combat the extreme paleness, common with a lot of vitiligo sufferers. His face shape does not seem much different. Remember: Light and dark affect how we look. Light colors expand and make things seem bigger, dark makes things seem smaller (which is why every woman loves wearing black). He also had to wear makeup to even out his skintone.

Very obvious evidence of Michael's Vitiligo as you see the pale skin, the discolorations on his hands and the spotting on his arms.

A man who suffers from Vitiligo. You can see similar splotches on his arms and how "white" he had become from his original skin color

Pictured here with Kenye West, you can see how incredibly pale Michael's skin had become due to his condition.

A woman who suffers from Vitiligo. This is a before and after using a Dermablend makeup to cover her vitiligo. Some sufferers, once the vitiligo gets extensive enough, just decide to completely de-pigment.

Michael's Vitiligo is very obvious here on his neck and face.

Here, the Vitiligo is very evident on a young Michael's cheeks, face and chin.

Michael, holding one of his children. In the circled area of the photo, you can see the discoloration.

Here you can see the discolorations/blotchy skin all over his chest and arms.

Obvious discoloration on Michael's face and very red cheeks either due to the Vitiligo, Lupus or both. This could have very well been the butterfly rash commonly seen in Lupus patients which is seen on the cheeks and the bridge of the nose.

Accusations about being gay/Michael's sexuality:

So much has been said about Michael Jackson's sexuality and despite how many times he reiterated that he was not homosexual, the rumors persisted.

Here, in a Time Magazine article featured in "Icons, Intimate Portraits" by Denise Worrell, Seth Riggs, Michael's vocal teacher, comments on a conversation he had with Michael.

"Everyone thinks Michael is gay, and I said to him one day. 'You know Michael, a lot of people think you're gay.' Michael started to laugh. He said, 'I know. The other day a big, tall, blond, nice-looking fellow came up to me and said, "Gee, Michael, I think you're wonderful. I sure would like to go to bed with you." I looked at him and said, "When's the last time you read the Bible? You know you really should read it because there is some real information in there about homosexuality." The guy says, "I guess if I'd been a girl, it would have been different. And I said, "No, there are some very direct words on that in the Bible too."

Michael talking about his love for women and the concept of revenge in "Moonwalk"

"Heartbreak Hotel" was the most ambitious song I had composed. I think I worked on a number of levels: You could dance to it, sing along with it, get scared by it, and just listen. I had to tack on a slow piano and cello coda that ended on a positive note to reassure the listener; there's no point in trying to scare someone if there isn't something to bring the person back safe and sound from where you've taken them. "Heartbreak Hotel" had revenge in it and I am fascinated by the concept of revenge. It's something I can't understand. The idea of making someone "pay" for something they've done to you or that you imagine they've done to you is totally alien to me. The setup showed my own fears and for the first time being helped quell them. There were so many sharks in this business looking for blood in the water.

If this song, and later "Billie Jean," seemed to cast women in anunfavourable light, it was not meant to be taken as a personal statement. Needless to say, I love the interaction between the sexes; it is a natural part of life and I love women. I just think that when sex is used as a form of blackmail or power, it's a repugnant use of one of God's gifts.

"I saw this picture of Lisa Marie on a magazine cover where she's married, which really tore me to pieces because I felt that it was supposed to be me. I really did."
Michael Jackson

"When Diana Ross got married it was hard for me. I wanted her to be happy, but I was a bit hurt and jealous because I've always loved Diana and always will."
Michael Jackson

"I believe in God.....I gain strength from God. I believe in Jehovah, God, very much.....I believe in God and love God."
Michael Jackson

"It's not true. It's like looking at a fictitious movie because it's fiction. It's science fiction. It's not true. I know myself and it's sad when other people have to read those things and they believe it. I know eventually the truth will prevail and I'm about truth"
Michael Jackson

"Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous, beautiful, and she still is today, I'm crazy about her."
Michael Jackson

"I thought I was going to marry Michael....You know what I want to say? Michael is very much a man. He was very loving, he was very caring, and all of that.....I used to do Michael's laundry....I would do his laundry and we would go down to the laundry together, so Michael was not what they all.....he's very real and he's very, just a regular kind of guy. We would do laundry together. Michael is a great kisser. I kissed him. He's a great kisser and (he was) very affectionate. I'll just say Michael is very much a man, not what they're trying to say." Stephanie Mills in a radio interview. Stephanie dated Michael Jackson when they worked together on The Wiz

His Character & His Faith

Seth Riggs, a vocal teacher who worked with Michael for two hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week while Michael was recording Thriller and also on subsequent projects, commented on Michael's character in a Time Magazine article. "Michael is a very special man. He would come in for his lesson and sit down and we would have a prayer and then read the Bible and then have another prayer and start to work. That's the way he liked to begin his day. Can you imagine a performer as big as Michael Jackson turning around in a lesson and discussing how wonderful God has been to him and how much he loves God?"

"I believe in God.....I gain strength from God. I believe in Jehovah, God, very much.....I believe in God and love God."
Michael Jackson

"There was no shortage of 'I love you's, I'm so grateful, I appreciate you.' That was very much who he was and what he was about."
Choreographer Travis Payne on working with Michael on the 02 shows

Andrae' (Crouch) has now told Clifton Davis (when he saw him at MJ's family funeral on Sept. 4) that he is "confident that Michael Jackson knew the Lord." This was reported by Clifton on TBN's "Praise The Lord" on 9/8/09, Tuesday night to the world. (Dave)
From Andrae Crouch's Facebook page. Andrae was a friend of Michael's and worked with him on various albums.

Michael's generosity: "No one talks about when he did the Victory tour. I remember as a kid Michael being on tour with the Victory tour right? And every night on the news they would announce that Michael Jackson donated his money from every city that he did, he donated it to a new charity. He donated his money from the Victory tour to charities. I thought that was amazing. I'm like, wow! This guys donating millions of dollars every night to a new charity. Then he would stop in every city and every city he would stop at a hospital and visit kids that were burned, ill or whatever. He took the time to do all that."
Cory Rooney, who worked with Michael at Sony/Epic

Michael was respectful and great to work with and was not demanding/did not have an attitude "...There's other times where I sit there in the studio and say I cannot believe that I'm working with this person and this is what it is. And they all have the nerve to have attitudes.

Then you work with a guy like Michael Jackson who when he was late, he was supposed to be in the studio at twelve and he showed up about quarter to one. He felt so terrible for being late he apologized the whole session. The next day he sent a big giant basket because we're talking about movies and how much I love movies. So he sent me this giant basket....Oh my goodness, it probably had 100 DVDs. It had popcorn, candy, all kinds of books and movie trivia, all kinds of stuff. Again the card said, 'I'm very sorry for not respecting your time."....I would say Mike, what time do you want to start tomorrow? He said, 'Cory, you're the boss. You tell me what time. If you want me here seven in the morning, I will be here at seven in the morning.' He said, 'You are the boss. Whatever you tell me.'

Chris Yandek (Interviewer): What I find interesting about those comments is the way the mainstream media projects it is that he wanted to always do things his way.

Cory: "Not at all, not at all. That's what I said. It's like if the world would just stop and just really pay attention."
Cory Rooney, who worked with Michael at Sony/Epic

The Truth about the 2008 Sun article stating Michael converted to Islam

The Passing of Michael Jackson
June 26th, 2009 Source: http://www.wharnsby.com/03_blog.html

From the same source of life - we all come, and inevitably so we must all return. The passing of artist and performer Michael Jackson yesterday was quite a shock to many. My thoughts and prayers are with the Jackson family during this difficult time - and especially with Micheal's young children. May they be protected from the media machine that so tragically tore up much of Michael's life, while ironically celebrating him as one of the world's most incredible and dynamic performers.

Like many of my generation, the music and public persona of Michael Jackson were a great part of my youth. My serious interest in music began at age 10 when I first saw Michael perform on television, shortly after his "Thriller" album had swept the world. His charisma, uninhibited passion for his art and his unique style filled my head with dreams of one day being able to share my own music with the world.

Few can come close to claiming even a fraction of what Michael accomplished during his career - from child-star as lead singer of the Jackson 5, through his work in "The Whiz" and onward to a solo career as an artist in an absolutely unparalleled musical/performance domain. Michael's work and music bridged the world and generations. His choreography, concert formats, music videos, album production, charity efforts ("We Are The World" in specific) all set a standard that few could rise above.

Over the years the media scrutiny, mockery and sensationalizing of his personal life always angered me. During the very difficult times of his career I always supported and defended Michael - admiring him for remaining artistically driven and gracious to his supporters.

Each day people with tremendous lives pass from this world - farmers, students, cab drivers, children, elderly retired teachers, soldiers and parents. Who are we to judge the degrees of their "success" or the levels to which their lives touched the lives of others? Each day we should morn the losses of the world's valuable contributors, and each day we should celebrate the positive achievements of all our earth's inhabitants.

With that in mind, I write these expressions not because "Michael Jackson the Super Star" has passed onward, but because a guy named Michael inspired me to sing, dance, smile, be gracious with those who shared my art with me and above all (as Michael would say whenever accepting an award) "Thank God" for all the wonderful adventures of life.

May Michael's music carry on for many, many more generations - inspiring people to dance, dream and hope for a better world.

Lastly - many have been in touch with me over the past year to inquire about my personal relationship with Michael Jackson. A November 21, 2008 Sun (UK) article spread internationally stating that Michael had adopted the religion of Islam through friendship with both myself and my colleague Idris Phillips during recording sessions in Los Angeles. For the record: Though our professional circles did cross-over slightly with various common professional acquaintances - I never had the honour or pleasure of meeting Micheal Jackson personally, nor did we ever correspond on matters of our professions, personal lives or faiths.

dawud wharnsby

When asked if his late brother had converted to Islam before his death during the Q&A session, Marlon said he wasn't aware of that as all he knew was that his brother was a Christian until he died.

Marlon Jackson speaking in Nigeria about an upcoming project and his brother Michael

For further information on the speculation about Michael converting to Islam or not, visit http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Michael_Jackson

For information on Michael's affiliation with the Nation of Islam and Jermaine talking about whether his brother planned to convert,visit:

Plastic surgery:

Much has been written and speculated about in regards to Michael Jackson's plastic surgery. In Moonwalk, he admitted to, at the time, having 2 surgeries on his nose and adding a cleft to his chin. Here is more about what Michael says about his face in "Moonwalk"

"One of the side effects of the Thriller period was to make me weary of
constantly being in the public eye. Because of this, I resolved to lead a
quieter, more private life. I was still quite shy about my appearance. You
must remember that I had been a child star and when you grow up under that kind of scrutiny people don't want you to change, to get older and look different. When I first became well known, I had a lot of baby fat and a very round, chubby face. That roundness stayed with me until several years ago when I changed my diet and stopped eating beef, chicken, pork, and fish, as well as certain fattening foods. I just wanted to look better, live better, and be healthier. Gradually, as I lost weight, my face took on its present shape and the press started accusing me of surgically altering my appearance, beyond the nose job I freely admitted I had, like many performers and film stars. They would take an old picture from adolescence of high school, and compare it to a current photograph. In the old picture my face would be round and pudgy. I'd have an Afro, and the picture would be badly lit. The new picture would show a much older, more mature face. I've got a different hairstyle and a different nose. Also, the photographer's lighting is excellent in the recent photographs. It's really not fair to make such comparisons. They have said I had bone surgery done on my face. It seems strange to me that people would jump to that conclusion and I thought it was very unfair.

Judy Garland and Jean Harlow and many others have had their noses done. My problem is that as a child star people got used to seeing me look one way.

I'd like to set the record straight right now. I have never had my cheeks
altered or my eyes altered. I have not had my lips thinned, nor have I had
dermabrasion or a skin peel. All of these charges are ridiculous. If they
were true, I would say so, but they aren't. I have had my nose altered twice and I recently added a cleft to my chin, but that is it. Period. I don't care what anyone else says - it's my face and I know.
I'm a vegetarian now and I'm so much thinner. I've been on a strict diet for years . I feel better than I ever have, healthier and more energetic. I
don't understand why the press is so interested in speculating about my
appearance anyway. What does my face have to do with my music or my dancing?"

"You know, let's put it this way, if all the people in Hollywood who have had plastic surgery, if they went on vacation, there wouldn't be a person left in town."
Michael Jackson

The White Glove

In several interviews, Michael mentions that he felt that wearing one signature glove was much "cooler" than 2 and it steadily became part of his image. There are other reports, including the video at the top of this page describing Michael's vitiligo, that claim that Michael's reason for wearing the glove was not only an image thing, but also a way for him to cover up the early stages of his Vitiligo. It's quite possible that Michael took something that might have been a negative, and, in his true character, turned it into something very positive that became part of his image.

CNN article with Cecily Tyson on Michael's White Glove

Michael talking about his one glove in "Moonwalk":

"I actually had been wearing the glove for a long time, but it hadn't gotten a lot of attention until all of a sudden it hit with Thriller in 1983. I was
wearing it on some of the old tours back in the 1970s, and I wore one glove during the Off the Wall tour and on the cover of the live album that came out afterward.

It's so show business that one glove. I love wearing it. Once, by coincidence, I wore a black glove to the American Music Awards ceremony, which happened to fall on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Funny how things happen sometimes."

Sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber


This story too, has seen many metamorphosis throughout the years. Numerous explanations abound. Some claim that Michael and/or his people leaked the photo to the press as a publicity stunt. Still others claim that Michael may have been using it to find natural, holistic ways to treat his vitiligo.

Michael's explanation was simple and seems to make a lot of sense.

In December of 1984 Michael visited the Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he had been treated for his serious burns while filming the Pepsi commercial. He donated all of the money he received from Pepsi, $1.5 million, to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children. The hyperbaric chamber is used in treatments of burns and Michael claims that he got in the chamber to test it out and a photo of him in it was taken and leaked to the tabloids, and the rest, is history.

Michael doing unnatural things to keep his voice high

In the book "Icons, Intimate Portraits," by Time Magazine writer Denise Worrell, Seth Riggs, Michael's vocal teacher who worked with him while Michael recorded "Thriller," (and also on subsequent projects) said this about Michael's voice:

"Michael is a high tenor who has a three-and-a-half octave range, which is unusual. The average person has about a two-octave range. Michael does not sing falsetto. He doesn't jump outside his natural range to sing those high notes. What I did wa work with Michael to extend his natural range. People say Michael takes female hormones to keep his voice high. That is not true. I am his voice teacher. I would know that. He started out with a high voice and I've taken him even higher. Michael can sing low-down to one octave below middle C-but he prefers to sing as high as he does. A tenor can always get more mileage, can develop more style by staying up in the high ranges."

"I didn't think my speaking voice was something my singing needed to hide. I have always had a soft speaking voice. I haven't cultivated it or chemically altered it: that's me - take it or leave it. Imagine what it must be like to be criticised for something about yourself that is natural and God given."

Michael speaks of a meeting with a young fan who questioned his singing voice (from the Martin Bashir outtakes):

"One little boy slipped through the crowd and said to me 'Michael Jackson, is it true that you take female hormone pills to make your voice higher?' and he was no more than 11! I said 'No!" Where did you get that from?' He said 'My friends talked about it.' I go 'I'm a Tenor. I'm a natural Tenor. My grandfather is a Tenor, my oldest brother's a Tenor and most successful singers are Tenors. I said 'I do not take female hormone pills. I've never seen one. I wouldn't know what it looks like."

Desire to buy the elephant man's bones

Though there is much debate about the validity of this rumor. Here is what Michael Jackson reportedly said to a reporter after they asked him about it, according to Wikipedia.com

It was reported that Jackson had offered to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick (the "elephant man") and although untrue, Jackson did not deny the story. He stopped leaking untruths to the press, so the media began making up their own stories.

These reports became embedded in the public consciousness, inspiring the nickname "Wacko Jacko," which Jackson came to despise. Responding to the gossip, Jackson remarked to a reporter:

"Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, "I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight," people would say, "Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth."

There have been stories that have said that Michael was behind the rumors, that he had indeed offered to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick. Other stories have claimed that Michael's publicity staff was behind the rumors. Still other reports say it was completely false. Another version is from Adrian Grant's book, "A Visual Documentary," reportedly authorized by Michael himself, which states that Michael went to view the bones of the Elephant man and while viewing them, the author of the book gave him a copy of his book based on the life of Josef Merrick and the rumors came from this viewing and meeting.

As in most things Michael, the press was so rabid in their spreading of un-truths that it is truly difficult to know for sure. When in doubt though, I say, go directly to the source. Michael knew that there were a lot of false things being said about him constantly and his answer to the reporter above gives a wink and a nod to that. He also stated in the Martin Bashir outtakes, that this rumor, along with the others, was not true.

On his wearing a mask and disguises in public

He has said that some times he just wanted his privacy (which the media and fans many times would not give him) and that by wearing masks, etc. that gave him the feeling of a bit of privacy. Because everywhere he went, he had people staring at him, shouting at him and trying to grab him, he at times just wanted to feel he could go out and not be so much on "display" even if that meant to him, in his own way, that he could feel a bit removed, though he was still very obvious and maybe even more so, with the mask. Some said he did it for publicity or to make himself appear more mysterious or to get people talking about him. All we can go by is what Michael himself said in interviews about his desire for privacy.

On the disguises he sometimes wore out. Imagine that you cannot go anywhere without being mobbed. Not to the park, movie theatre or even the grocery store. Things we take for granted. Michael had said that he wanted to just go to the grocery store so bad by himself and get himself some food. So a friend of his, who owned a market, closed it down and set it up so that Michael could at least get a feel for what it was like just being able to do a normal grocery shopping.

He also at times wore disguises just to get out and, for instance, sit in the park. He had a desire to see what people normally did everyday. What they talked about. He knew that if he went as himself, he would never get to experience that because he would have been mobbed.

The Umbrella

Michael carried an umbrella at all times while outdoors because the loss of pigmentation with Vitiligo, the skin condition he had that turned his skin from dark to pale white, makes sufferers susceptible to skin cancer. Lupus, another disease he was diagnosed with, also makes the skin incredibly sensitive to the sun.


Interesting article about the psychological effects of vitiligo A celebrity permanent makeup artist defends Michael Jackson

Information on Michael Jackson´s Vitiligo

Blog about Vitiligo

Mayo Clinic

National Institute of Arthritis and Muscoloskeletal and Skin Diseases Vitiligo Q&A

Good article to read about Michael's glove and Vitiligo

Information on Lupus

Discoid lupus erythematosus (the type of Lupus that Michael Jackson was said to have had)

"Imagine what it must be like to be criticised for something about yourself that is natural and God given. Imagine the hurt of having untruths spread by the press, of having people wonder if you're telling the truth - defending yourself because someone decided it would make good copy and would force you to deny what they said, thus creating another story. "
Michael Jackson

Does it hurt? I'm Human. I Am Human
Michael Jackson

Back to Michael´s mystery