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Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask par [Manning, Harriet J.]
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires client

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Longueur : 220 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

'Even if you have read a significant volume of works about Michael Jackson, you probably owe it to yourself to explore the fresh , compelling and interesting concepts that are skilfully presented in Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask. A scholarly work to be sure. Kudos to Harriet Manning!' ----- Karen Moriarty, author of Defending a King: His Life & Legacy

'One cannot underestimate the import of Manning's scholarship in reinforcing Michael Jackson as a subject worthy of serious academic study and cultural discourse ... Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask is not inaccessible to the casual reader. It will, no doubt, find a special place on the bookshelves of various and sundry readers worldwide who experience a deep respect for Jackson and his art ... After this book, readers will not likely see this artist in quite the same way again, but through layers of enhanced perception.' ----- Constance Pierce, Artist and Professor of Art (retired), Bonaventure University, New York, USA.

'This is a truly fascinating and engaging book, one that opened my eyes to a new way of seeing Michael Jackson. I highly recommend it.' ----- Willa Stillwater, author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance

Présentation de l'éditeur

Blackface minstrelsy, the nineteenth-century performance practice in which ideas and images of blackness were constructed and theatricalized by and for whites, continues to permeate contemporary popular music and its audience. Harriet J. Manning argues that this legacy is nowhere more evident than with Michael Jackson in whom minstrelsy’s gestures and tropes are embedded.

During the nineteenth century, blackface minstrelsy held together a multitude of meanings and when black entertainers took to the stage this complexity was compounded: minstrelsy became an arena in which black stereotypes were at once enforced and critiqued. This body of contradiction behind the blackface mask provides an effective approach to try and understand Jackson, a cultural figure about whom more questions than answers have been generated. Symbolized by his own whiteface mask, Jackson was at once ‘raced’ and raceless and this ambiguity allowed him to serve a whole host of others’ needs - a function of the mask that has run long and deep through its tortuous history. Indeed, Manning argues that minstrelsy’s assumptions and uses have been fundamental to the troubles and controversies with which Jackson was beset.


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3194 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 220 pages
  • Editeur : Ashgate; Édition : New edition (31 août 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00EUE2B4K
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires client
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As the author of “Defending A King ~ His Life & Legacy” about the incomparable Michael Jackson, I approached the reading of “Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask” with special interest. This book by Harriet J. Manning adds a whole new dimension to the study and understanding of the “greatest entertainer of our time,” an enigmatic icon, and the embodiment of multiple cultural influences. The complexity and genius of MJ emerge from the pages of this book with greater clarity and definition.
Michael Jackson determined to study the greats and to learn from them. His goal was to become as knowledgeable as possible -– he reportedly read on average a book each day -– and then to surpass the best entertainers with his own unique “push the envelope” approach to music and dance. No doubt MJ knew about the rich legacy of the blackface minstrelsy, which permeated the entertainment of nineteenth-century America ... but is largely unknown today.
“Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask” is a textbook, in my opinion, in the best sense. It is a welcome addition to other approaches that portray MJ's life and work in print, many of which are tabloid-like and tend toward the superficial. In contrast, Ms. Manning teaches her reader about the sociological, cultural, and racial influences upon the celebrity who had more impact on music, dance, and videos [short films] than any other performing artist. A fascinating and thought-provoking presentation, this book will give the reader an entirely new perspective on Michael Jackson. From the wearing of a mask in his private/public life to his unique, iconic dance moves and gestures, the reader will experience a series of “aha!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining book, which will no doubt have a wide appeal, from the YouTube generation to the popular music intelligentsia. Manning embraces the complexities and ambiguities of Michael Jackson, rather than trying to categorise or over-simplify him. She introduces the reader to blackface minstrelsy, one of the most popular entertainment genres of the 19th century that has now fallen from grace, and shows how an understanding of minstrelsy helps to inform and contextualise the modern day music industry, and MJ in particular.
She explains in a clear and insightful manner how MJ's performance, persona and legacy have been influenced by traditions of blackface minstrelsy. I particularly enjoyed her dissection of some of MJ's videos, such as the panther postlude to "Black or White". She also uses examples of other popular acts, such as Eminem and Westlife, to show how these acts have been shaped by the contradictions inherent within blackface minstrelsy, and willing or otherwise, how they have perpetuated its themes of "love" and "theft".
The chapters within Manning's book stand alone in their own right, so whilst the book forms a satisfying whole, it does not need to be read in any particular order, which adds to its appeal and "readability". This book is both scholarly and accessible, and it serves as a worthy tribute to the King of Pop.
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This thoughtful, well-considered, and well-researched book provides an entirely new frame of reference for interpreting Michael Jackson's work, both as an artist and as an important cultural figure.

Manning begins her book by providing a brief history of blackface minstrelsy. As she explains, it was an extremely popular form of entertainment for more than a century, but now its legacy has largely been pushed underground. However, while this history has been suppressed and ignored in recent decades, Manning shows it has played a powerful role in allowing whites to define what it means to be black - a phenomenon that continues in subtle but pervasive ways even today.

For example, Manning looks at how hip hop reinforces rigid definitions of blackness that were forged in blackface minstrelsy, and suggests it is this aspect of hip hop that led critic Eric Olsen to declare, "Eminem is far blacker than Michael Jackson." As Manning points out, what this statement actually means is that Eminem (a white man) fits white stereotypes of blackness, while Michael Jackson (a black man) defied and resisted those stereotypes.

Manning also looks at two short films by Michael Jackson - "Black or White" and "Michael Jackson's Ghosts" - and shows how he engages with and challenges the legacy of blackface minstrelsy, including the restrictive definitions of race that were being imposed onto him.

This is a truly fascinating and engaging book, one that opened my eyes to a new way of seeing Michael Jackson. I highly recommend it.
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I have lots of books on Michael Jackson and this book is a completely new way of looking at him, his songs and singing voice, videos and dancing. I would definitely suggest starting on Chapter 2 which gets you straight into the main idea of the book. I liked the descriptions of "Ghosts", "Scream", "Black or White" and "This Is It". This book is really unique.
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11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Rich Historical and Aesthetic Narrative ... 10 avril 2014
Par Constance Pierce - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Author Harriet J. Manning offers a significant contribution to that body of work now known as "Michael Jackson Studies," a comprehensive collection initiated by University of Rochester scholar/author, Joseph Vogel. Since Michael Jackson's untimely death in 2009, his after-life presence and his artistic oeuvre have been enriched exponentially through the scholarship of a plethora of academics including David Dark, Michael Eric Dyson, Susan Fast, Jason King, Sylvia J. Martin, Mark Anthony Neal, Willa Stillwater, Joseph Vogel, and Cornell West - among others.

Now comes British scholar and author Harriet J. Manning who adds a unique particularity of vision with her new book, Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask. This is due to her expertise in the history of blackface minstrelsy and its conflictual legacy. Manning holds a Ph.D. in this area and a Master's degree in Popular Music. This combination allows her to advance singular illuminations on Jackson's cultural influences not previously explored at this level - or with this precision - specifically in Jackson's relationship to minstrelsy's "gestural vocabulary and tropes."

Ashgate Publishing introduces Manning's work with the following thoughts, "... minstrelsy became an arena in which stereotypes were at once enforced and critiqued ... Manning argues that minstrelsy's assumptions and uses have been fundamental to the troubles and controversies with which Jackson was beset."

The author also advises us early on, "In these texts the narrative paradigm of minstrelsy's origins is one of cultural expropriation and exploitation ... serving white superiority and white self-aggrandizement." Blacks were seen (prophetically, with regard to Jackson) as "bad and dangerous." Yet, Manning explicates the aesthetic methods Jackson utilized to deconstruct this stereotypical ideology. Michael Jackson's life and art became an example of an anomalous, even glorious - yet paradoxically sacrificial - act of deep personal, cultural and artistic "reclamation."

As Manning narrates, Jackson's artistic moxie was routinely misunderstood, as with the initial 1991 TV airing of "Black or White." His black panther dance sequence ignited global media conflagration. Now, in retrospect, most are able to comprehend the visionary daring Jackson embraced in this piece of art. He flew in the face of convention, always pushing toward higher ground. Much earlier prototypes of this sort of inexorable visionary might include the likes of William Blake, Wolfgang Mozart, Vincent Van Gogh and more recently, William Faulkner (whose blunt literary portrayal of race polarization in the South was at times misunderstood as personal racism). As with so many uncompromising and ground-breaking artists, the passage of time is often a crucial factor in apprehending the true nature of their artistic genius.

Manning serves up a rich historical narrative of minstrelsy's political, cultural and racial practices. She also presents Caucasian blackface stage performers such as T. D. Rice, who popularized the repugnant stereotype of Jim Crow. Audience reaction (depicted in the text's antique advertising) often bordered on hysteria. Manning suggests that the intense duality inherent in white audience response presents a binary drama of "ridicule and adoration." This paradoxical duality was paraphrased (to tragic consequence) in Jackson's own life story.

Manning is a compelling story-teller, because she is able to present what is essentially a piece of scholarly research in a fashion that is also fully engaging to the non-academics among Jackson appreciators. Manning's chapter headings promise intrigue. They do not fail to deliver. In "Ghosts: Racial Fantasy and the Lost Black Self," the author argues that a close reading of Jackson's short film, Ghosts, offers a virtual text rich for discussion "on the heavy weight of racial fantasy grounded in minstrelsy." Her book lends itself well to university level course studies.

Manning also splices in philosophical insight through a plethora of writers from Freud to Foucault, as well as several African-American authors including Ralph Ellison and W. E. B. Du Bois. She aptly cites from The Souls of Black Folk, a largely autobiographical compilation of essays by Du Bois. "It is a peculiar sensation ... measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity." This prefiguring of Jackson's adversities, so many decades ahead, seems a prescient and discouraging commentary on aspects of our American culture.

In her chapter, "Turnaround: Love and Theft," Manning addresses white artists' appropriation of Jackson's dance and gestural idiom, while neglecting genuine respect or acknowledgement. The Irish band Westlife, and the performer with "white trash roots," Eminem, are analyzed through the lens of the contextual contradictions inherent in minstrelsy's history.

One of Manning's many remarkable passages, in her chapter on "Black or White" - subtitled "From Jim Crow to Michael Jackson" - states "Jackson's mask should not have been understood as a marker of sell-out and negative black self-image but, through its erosion of race, as evidence of ambition and revolution: the reconfiguring of not his face but of a less than perfect world. Jackson nullified not blackness but blackness as biological fact and therefore by default whiteness and race in a cultural context that since the days of the classic minstrel show has used in fundamental ways a racist binarism of Self and Other, white and black, based on absolute racial difference. Jackson took the blackface mask and turned it inside out." Manning continues, "Jackson is empowered, the locus of control in minstrelsy has shifted ... for he has freed himself from the constraints of an over-determined social structure ... traditionally created to meet others' needs. Jackson, in his own mind at least, had freed himself from the blackface mask."

Because Manning's work emerges out of the genre of literary criticism, she integrates gender theory, new historicism and post-structuralist thought into her text. However, she is always in touch with her pronounced story-telling gifts, bringing dramatic nuance into play at every turn.

On a personal note, I find it interesting that Jackson may have been informed (at least in part) on vestiges of the gestures of minstrelsy channeled through the legendary choreographer, Bob Fosse. One can witness this recognizable influence by way of Fosse's dance interpretation of the snake character in the 1974 film adaption of The Little Prince. Although Fosse may be outside the perimeter of Manning's research, it seems quite possible that his dance mentoring was among the inspirations operant in Jackson's iconic performances of "Billie Jean."

Although not a concern to most, the photo illustrations of Jackson's gestures (germinal to Manning's text) might be reproduced in a higher quality. The images would then achieve "figure/background" contrast and highlight the body's contours. This could be of assistance in better revealing Jackson's performance gestures and their striking resemblance to minstrelsy.

As with any text, there are places where one's personal rumination on the subject may tend toward differing interpretations, but we can not underestimate the immense import of Manning's scholarship in reinforcing this artist as a subject worthy of serious academic study and cultural discourse. Thankfully, as mentioned, Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask is not inaccessible to the casual reader. It will, no doubt, find a special place on the bookshelves of various and sundry readers worldwide who experience a deep respect for Jackson and his art, as well as the doubters who may just need an objective, yet historically innovative, second look at this iconic artist - one who has bequeathed such a prodigious body of unrivaled creative work.

It seems to me Jackson was always absorbing, re-mixing and re-imagining so much of his culturally inherited aesthetic. After Manning's text, readers will not likely see Michel Jackson in quite the same way again, but through layers of enhanced perception - a kind of "self/other" sublimation - echoing an aspect of grace that this artist's work was all about, after all.

Constance Pierce, April 9th, 2014
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful! An entirely new approach to understanding Michael Jackson 6 mars 2014
Par Willa Stillwater - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
This thoughtful, well-considered, and well-researched book provides an entirely new frame of reference for interpreting Michael Jackson's work, both as an artist and as an important cultural figure.

Manning begins her book by providing a brief history of blackface minstrelsy. As she explains, it was an extremely popular form of entertainment for more than a century, but now its legacy has largely been pushed underground. However, while this history has been suppressed and ignored in recent decades, Manning shows it has played a powerful role in allowing whites to define what it means to be black - a phenomenon that continues in subtle but pervasive ways even today.

For example, Manning looks at how hip hop reinforces rigid definitions of blackness that were forged in blackface minstrelsy, and suggests it is this aspect of hip hop that led critic Eric Olsen to declare, "Eminem is far blacker than Michael Jackson." As Manning points out, what this statement actually means is that Eminem (a white man) fits white stereotypes of blackness, while Michael Jackson (a black man) defied and resisted those stereotypes.

Manning also looks at two short films by Michael Jackson - "Black or White" and "Michael Jackson's Ghosts" - and shows how he engages with and challenges the legacy of blackface minstrelsy, including the restrictive definitions of race that were being imposed onto him.

This is a truly fascinating and engaging book, one that opened my eyes to a new way of seeing Michael Jackson. I highly recommend it.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Scholarly & Fascinating Book 28 janvier 2014
Par Dr. Karen Moriarty - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
As the author of “Defending A King ~ His Life & Legacy” about the incomparable Michael Jackson, I approached the reading of “Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask” with special interest. This book by Harriet J. Manning adds a whole new dimension to the study and understanding of the “greatest entertainer of our time,” an enigmatic icon, and the embodiment of multiple cultural influences. The complexity and genius of MJ emerge from the pages of this book with greater clarity and definition.
Michael Jackson determined to study the greats and to learn from them. His goal was to become as knowledgeable as possible -– he reportedly read on average a book each day -– and then to surpass the best entertainers with his own unique “push the envelope” approach to music and dance. No doubt MJ knew about the rich legacy of the blackface minstrelsy, which permeated the entertainment of nineteenth-century America ... but is largely unknown today.
“Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask” is a textbook, in my opinion, in the best sense. It is a welcome addition to other approaches that portray MJ's life and work in print, many of which are tabloid-like and tend toward the superficial. In contrast, Ms. Manning teaches her reader about the sociological, cultural, and racial influences upon the celebrity who had more impact on music, dance, and videos [short films] than any other performing artist. A fascinating and thought-provoking presentation, this book will give the reader an entirely new perspective on Michael Jackson. From the wearing of a mask in his private/public life to his unique, iconic dance moves and gestures, the reader will experience a series of “aha!” moments as his/her fuller understanding of MJ and his rightful place in the powerful cultural evolution of the “blackface” movement develops.
Even if you have read a significant volume of works about Michael Jackson, you probably owe it to yourself to explore the "fresh," compelling and interesting concepts that are skillfully presented in “Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask.” A scholarly work to be sure! Kudos to Harriet Manning!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 THIS IS IT! 24 mars 2014
Par TomBB - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining book, which will no doubt have a wide appeal, from the YouTube generation to the popular music intelligentsia. Manning embraces the complexities and ambiguities of Michael Jackson, rather than trying to categorise or over-simplify him. She introduces the reader to blackface minstrelsy, one of the most popular entertainment genres of the 19th century that has now fallen from grace, and shows how an understanding of minstrelsy helps to inform and contextualise the modern day music industry, and MJ in particular.
She explains in a clear and insightful manner how MJ's performance, persona and legacy have been influenced by traditions of blackface minstrelsy. I particularly enjoyed her dissection of some of MJ's videos, such as the panther postlude to "Black or White". She also uses examples of other popular acts, such as Eminem and Westlife, to show how these acts have been shaped by the contradictions inherent within blackface minstrelsy, and willing or otherwise, how they have perpetuated its themes of "love" and "theft".
The chapters within Manning's book stand alone in their own right, so whilst the book forms a satisfying whole, it does not need to be read in any particular order, which adds to its appeal and "readability". This book is both scholarly and accessible, and it serves as a worthy tribute to the King of Pop.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Unique 4 février 2014
Par Christopher Pointon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I have lots of books on Michael Jackson and this book is a completely new way of looking at him, his songs and singing voice, videos and dancing. I would definitely suggest starting on Chapter 2 which gets you straight into the main idea of the book. I liked the descriptions of "Ghosts", "Scream", "Black or White" and "This Is It". This book is really unique.
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