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Monday, December 01, 2003


Something you didn't know about Michael Jackson

One of the reasons Michael Jackson gets so much grief from the world is because of the fact that his skin has gotten lighter and lighter over the years. People claim that he "wants to be white," which doesn't endear him either to white people or to Black people, and makes him the butt of cruel jokes.

But the fact, which is virtually unknown, is that Michael Jackson suffers from a relatively rare skin disease called "vitiligo," which causes dark skin to lighten:

In the February 10, 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, MJ revealed that his skin had turned from brown to white because of a pigment-destroying skin disorder that runs on his father's side of the family. The following Friday, as reported by AP, his dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, confirmed that he had diagnosed MJ with vitiligo in 1986. Joseph, Katherine, and Randy Jackson appeared on the US TV program "Day One" about a month after the Oprah interview to reveal that they had known for many years that Michael had vitiligo but had been sworn to secrecy. Janet Jackson told Ebony, MTV, Q, Bravo, and Star Club that she too had known but had complied with MJ's request to remain silent. She added that it always hurt to listen to claims that Michael was artificially lightening his skin because she knew the truth but could not defend him without violating his privacy.
And, because he has this disease, Michael Jackson is just one more victim of the U.S. blockade of Cuba. Why? Because the leading treatment in the world for vitiligo is Melagenina, a product of the Cuban biotechnology industry. And, like all such products, because of the blockade, Melagenina is not available to Michael Jackson; it would be a violation of U.S. law for him to fly to Cuba for treatment or to purchase the medicine. And, because of the virtual blockade on coverage of the Cuban biotech industry by the U.S. press, it's quite possible Jackson has never even heard of Melagenina, and certainly even less likely that he had heard of it in 1986, shortly after it was first developed, and when its application might have done Jackson some good.

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