Michael Jackson Answered To Rumors He Chose A White Child To Play A Younger Version Of Him In A Pepsi Commercial

Jackson would open up to Oprah Winfrey about the rumor and his skin condition.

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Michael Jackson is known around the world as The King of Pop. Jackson set the mold for the modern pop star we all know today. He revolutionized the medium of music videos, which Jackson called “short films.” He was the leader for the MTV generation, where image was becoming as important as the music.


Jackson broke racial barriers as well, paving the way for other Black artists who followed him.

This was something many in the media weaponized against Jackson when his skin began getting paler. A lot of people speculated that Jackson was unhappy with his race. These rumors grew stronger when Jackson was rumored to have hired a white child to play a younger version of himself in a Pepsi commercial.

Jackson would eventually sit down with Oprah Winfrey and set the record straight.

Michael Said His Father Would Tease Him About His Appearance And Call Him ‘Ugly’

When Michael Jackson first caught the world’s attention, it was as the lead singer of the Jackson 5. The group was part of a string of hit acts that came out of Motown Records. Jackson grew up singing now-classic songs like “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “I’ll Be There.”

He became a child star and the success forever changed his life. In 1993, Jackson sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a primetime televised interview. During the live broadcast, Jackson spoke about the loss he felt during his childhood. He said that due to his hectic work schedule, he missed out on the simple pleasures so many other children get to enjoy.

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In the special, Jackson also opened up about his father Joseph. According to Jackson, his father was physically abusive. He also called Jackson “ugly” and made fun of his appearance. Jackson said that he was sad when he was growing up and that he cried every day.

Joseph’s unkind words only magnified Jackson’s insecurities, especially in regard to his teenage acne. Jackson told Winfrey that going through puberty was difficult, especially in front of the public eye. He said that he felt judged by the public at that time, because he was no longer the child they were introduced to.

Michael Opened Up To Oprah About His Vitiligo After Speculation He Was Unhappy With His Race

When it was announced that Jackson would be interviewed by Winfrey, there were many questions the public hoped he would answer. Many of those questions focused on Jackson’s skin tone. When Jackson released his “Bad” album in 1987, many people took notice of his seemingly lightened skin tone. Jackson’s skin tone only seemed to be getting lighter as the years progressed.


There were some people who suggested Jackson was unhappy with his race and wanted to be white. This is something Winfrey asked Jackson about during their interview. Jackson told Winfrey that he had vitiligo, a condition that causes skin to lose pigmentation. Jackson said that he used makeup to even out his skin tone, since it makes blotches on the skin.

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“It is something I cannot help. When people make up stories that I don’t want to be who I am, it hurts me,” Jackson tearfully said. “It’s a problem for me. I can’t control it. But what about all the millions of people who sit in the sun to become darker, to become other than what they are? Nobody says nothing about that.”

Jackson also said that his father told him it runs in his side of the family. After the interview aired, Jackson’s dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, released a statement to the press at Jackson’s request. The statement said that Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo in 1986.

Oprah Asked Michael About A Rumor He Wanted A White Child To Play Him In A Pepsi Commercial

In January 1993, stories began running in the press about a commercial Jackson shot for Pepsi. Jackson had been working with Pepsi since 1984, when the company sponsored The Jacksons’ “Victory Tour.” The soft drink corporation was now sponsoring Jackson’s “Dangerous Tour” and there was a commercial filmed which was later aired internationally.

The commercial in question featured an adult Jackson playing “I’ll Be There” on the piano when a child version of Jackson appears and starts singing along. The child version of Jackson can be seen standing in the doorway and performing the song.

Before the commercial aired, rumors began spreading that Jackson hired a white child to play the role of himself as a child. The child was said to have had his skin digitally darkened with Jackson’s face as a child superimposed on his body. These rumors began circulating a month before Jackson admitted his skin condition to Winfrey.

In addition to Jackson’s vitiligo, this was another topic Winfrey asked Jackson about during their interview. Winfrey mentioned the rumor and asked Jackson if it were true, to which Jackson responded by saying it was “ridiculous” and “horrifying.”

“Number one, it’s my face as a child in the commercial,” Jackson said. “Me, when I was little. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a Black American. I’m proud to be a Black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. … That’s like you [Oprah] wanting an oriental person to play you as a child. Does that make sense?”

In recent years, a number of photographs leaked from the set of the commercial. Most of the shots show Jackson posing with actor Alex Dorsey, who was dressed in the outfit from the commercial. Jackson is also seen posing with Dorsey’s father and brother.

However, another shot shows Jackson with what appears to be a different child dressed in the same outfit. There are many who believe the child in the picture is a young Wade Robson.





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