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Troubling VisionPerformance, Visuality, and Blackness$
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Nicole R. Fleetwood

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226253022

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226253053.001.0001

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Coda: The Icon Is Dead: Mourning Michael Jackson

Coda: The Icon Is Dead: Mourning Michael Jackson

(p.207) Coda: The Icon Is Dead: Mourning Michael Jackson
Troubling Vision
University of Chicago Press

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

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

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