Black or White

Black or White

Single infobox |
Name = Black or White

Artist = Michael Jackson
from Album = Dangerous
Released = October 11, 1991
Format = 7" single
12" single
CD single
Recorded =
Genre = Pop rock>
Rap rock
Length = 3:22 (radio edit)
4:16 (album version)
Label = Epic
Producer = Michael Jackson
Writer = Michael Jackson
Last single = "Liberian Girl"
This single = "Black or White"
Next single = "Remember the Time"
Misc = Extra chronology
Artist = Michael Jackson's ""
Background = khaki
Last single = "Leave Me Alone"
This single = "Black or White"
Next single = "Remember the Time"
(2006)Extra tracklisting
Album = Dangerous
Type = studio
prev_track = "Heal the World"
prev_no = 7
this_track = "Black or White"
track_no = 8
next_track = "Who Is It"
next_no = 9
Extra tracklisting
Album =
Type = compilation
prev_track = "The Way You Make Me Feel"
prev_no = 2
this_track = "Black or White"
track_no = 3
next_track = "Rock with You"
next_no = 4
Extra album cover
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Background = khaki

Lower caption = "Black or White (The Clivillés & Cole (C&C) Remixes)" cover.Extra album cover
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Background = khaki

Lower caption = "Black or White (US Digipak)" cover.

"Black or White" was the first single taken from Michael Jackson's album "Dangerous", released in October 1991. "Black or White" is a mix of hard rock, dance and rap.

Written, composed, and arranged by Jackson with the rap lyrics by Bill Bottrell, it is a song that promotes racial unity. The song's introduction and main riff, reminiscent of that of "Hurts So Good" by John Mellencamp, is performed by guitarist Slash.

The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, as well as in 18 other countries.

Music video


The music video for "Black or White" was first broadcast on MTV, BET, VH1, and FOX (after the Saturdays of Thunder episode of The Simpsons) on November 14 1991. Along with Jackson, it featured Macaulay Culkin, Tess Harper, and George Wendt. It helped usher in morphing as a new technology in music videos. The video was directed by John Landis, the same director as "Thriller".

The first few minutes of the video featured an extended version of the song's intro, in which a young kid (Macaulay Culkin) is playing loud music in his bedroom at night, and is yelled at by his enraged father (George Wendt), who demands he stops playing the music and go to bed. Culkin decides to forego his father's request to go to sleep by setting up large speaker cabinets behind his father's reclining chair, donning leather gloves and sunglasses, and playing an extremely loud power chord on an electric guitar. The sound shatters the house's windows and sends his father (seated in his chair) halfway around the world, where the actual song begins. Culkin's mother declares that his father will be "very upset" upon his return. The song from the CD does not use Culkin's nor Wendt's voice; they are replaced by voice actors performing a similar intro. Wendt winds up in Africa, and Michael Jackson begins to sing "Black or White", surrounded by various different cultures scene-by-scene.

A young Tyra Banks, who eventually became a supermodel, is seen dancing to the song in the ending of the video.


Controversy was generated concerning the last four minutes of the original music video. Jackson walks out of the studio as a black panther and then morphs into himself. Then he walks outside to perform some of his most physically complicated dance techniques, in a similar way to "Billie Jean". This part contained sexually suggestive scenes when Jackson starts to grab his crotch, and then zips his pants up. In the original version, Jackson is seen smashing windows and destroying a car and causing an inn to explode. Jackson later apologized saying that the violent and suggestive behaviour was an interpretation of the animal instinct of a black panther, and MTV and other music video networks removed the last four minutes from subsequent broadcasts.

To date, the uncut version has generally been seen in the United States on MTV2 only between the hours of 01:00 and 04:00, as part of their special uncensored airing of the "Most Controversial Music Videos" of all time. The extended version is also available on Jackson's DVDs. The original version (without graffiti) is available only on the VHS cassette "HIStory - The Video Greatest Hits". The DVD with the same name contains only the "graffiti version". The video was parodied by the sketch comedy TV show "In Living Color", and by the band Genesis in their video for "I Can't Dance" in which Phil Collins imitates Michael's 'panther' fit in front of a stark white background. It was still shown in its entirety for some years in Europe. Indeed, it was seen on VH1 in the UK as recently as October 11th 2008, though most recent airings have omitted the last portion of the video, which also included a brief cameo by Bart and Homer Simpson before the "prejudice is ignorance" image. The version available in the iTunes Music Store contains neither the panther scene nor the Simpsons cameo, and is cut after the morphing sequence.

Starting in 1992, Nocturne Video Productions began playing the "Panther Segment" of the video as an interlude during Michael's Dangerous and HIStory World tours. The clip is 20 seconds shorter than the original with all the violence and the sexually suggestive scenes removed. However, the part where he re-zipped his pants was kept in.

The video today

The video proper, still shown regularly today, featured a montage of sequences in which Jackson is choreographed engaging in dances among people of different cultures of the world (African, South-East Asian (most likely Thailand), Native American, Culture of India, Russian). Jackson walks through visual collages of fire (defiantly declaring "I ain't scared of no sheets; I ain't scared of nobody"), referring to KKK torch ceremonies before a mock rap scene shared with Culkin and other children. The group collectively states, "I'm not gonna spend my life being a color." At the end of the song, different people (including Tyra Banks) dance as they morph into one another (shown as "talking heads"), which is reminiscent of the earlier music video for the Godley & Creme song "Cry". This technique, known as morphing, had been previously used only in films such as "Willow" and "". The morphing visual effects were created by Pacific Data Images.

The short, censored version continues to air periodically to this day.

Clivillés & Cole Remixes

"Black or White (The Clivillés & Cole (C&C) Remixes)" (commonly titled "Black or White (Remix)") was the 1992 European hit sequel of Michael Jackson's smash single "Black or White".

The single was released in October 1991 in several European countries, charting in the UK, where it reached #14, and in Ireland, peaking at #11. The single also surprisingly peaked at #18 in Australia [ [ "Black or White (The Clivillés & Cole (C&C) Remixes" at] ] . The original version of the song was included in the multi-platinum mega-successful album "Dangerous". Despite the favourable European response to this remix, it was never included on a Michael Jackson album or compilation.


A version of the music video has aired on "Al TV" (hosted by "Weird Al" Yankovic), with footage from the music video of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" spliced into the opening segment to make it look as though Mark Metcalf's character from the latter video is yelling at Macaulay Culkin's character. Michael Jackson's voice has been altered to sound like a high pitched version of Weird Al's voice, while Culkin's voice in his rap number has deepened. Finally, the people in the morphing sequence at the end are given individual voices.

The sketch comedy television series, "In Living Color" recreated the postscript scene in which a black kitten transforms into Tommy Davidson. Davidson as Jackson spoofs the song by saying "can anyone tell if I am black or white?" to which an unseen chorus responds "we don't know!". The transforming faces are also spoofed with various pictures of Michael Jackson shown ranging from him with an afro and dark skin to long straight hair and milky white skin. Jackson is also shown touching his groin often and then grunting and squealing as he recklessly smashes a car windshield, which ends with a police officer coming on to the scene to put an end to the immature rampage. Michael Jackson (performed by Tommy Davidson) asks him, "Officer, am I Black or White?" When the officer responds, "You're under arrest," and handcuffs Michael, he replies, "I guess I am black," which appeared to the black community as a racist "joke".

Track listing

Original release

# "Black or White" – 3:22
# "Black or White" (Instrumental) – 3:22
# "Smooth Criminal" – 4:10

Black or White: The Remixes

# The Clivillés & Cole House/Club Mix
# The Clivillés & Cole House/Dub Mix
# The Underground Club Mix
# House With Guitar Radio Mix
# Tribal Beats

"Visionary" single

;CD side
# "Black or White" (Single version) – 3:22
# "Black or White" (Clivillés & Cole House Guitar Radio Mix) – 3:50

;DVD side
# "Black or White" (Music video)


#Album version – 4:17
#Single version – 3:22
#Instrumental – 3:22
#Clivillés & Cole House/Club Mix
#Clivillés & Cole Radio Mix – 3:33
#Clivillés & Cole House w/Guitar Radio Mix – 3:50
#Underground Club Mix



* Written and composed by Michael Jackson
* Rap lyrics by Bill Bottrell
* Produced by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell
* Recorded and mixed by Bill Bottrell
* Solo and background vocals: Michael Jackson
* Drums: Bryan Loren
* Percussion: Brad Buxer and Bill Bottrell
* Bass: Bryan Loren (moog) and Terry Jackson (bass guitar)
* Keyboards: Brad Buxer, John Barnes and Jason Martz
* Guitar: Bill Bottrell
* Heavy metal guitar: Tim Pierce
* Speed sequencer: Michael Boddicker and Kevin Gilbert
* Morphing Sound Effect: Scott Frankfurt
* Rap performed by L.T.B.
* "Intro":
** Special guitar performance by Slash
** Directed by Michael Jackson
** Composed by Bill Bottrell
** Engineering and sound design: Matt Forger
** Son played by Andres McKenzie
** Father played by L.T.B.


In 1990, Michael Jackson recorded a song named "Men In Black" for both the shelved greatest hits album "Decade: 1980-1990" and "Dangerous". It was written by Jackson and Teddy Riley and rumoured to be produced by Jazzie B (of the Soul II Soul fame).

In a fanzine called "Off The Wall Magazine", Adrian Grant was in the studio with Jackson to hear a session from the Decade album and one of them was Men In Black. He described the song as an uptempo version of Paul McCartney and Jacksons song "The Man".

When the album was shelved, the song was later considered for the Dangerous album. Was planned originally as the first single but didn't make it to the album and was replaced by "Black Or White".

Song exists on acetates of Decade and the ultra-rare 1991 cd "Promo Flight Only" which includes also two alternate versions of Black Or White and Monkey Business. One copy of the promo was up for auction on eBay recently and the song has never been released or leaked.


External links

*youtube|ZI9OYMRwN1Q|Music video for "Black or White"

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Black or White — Single par Michael Jackson extrait de l’album Dangerous Face B Black or White (Instru.) Smooth Criminal (Maxi CD) Sortie 11 novembre 1991 Enregistrement 1989 – 1991 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Black or White — «Black or White» Сингл Майкла Джексона из альбома Dangerous Выпущен 2 октября 1991 года Формат …   Википедия

  • Black And White — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Black and White (en anglais: Noir et Blanc), selon le contexte peut représenter : Black White, une distillerie de whisky fondée en 1884 et depuis… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Black \x26 White — Black White У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Black and White. Black and White Разработчик Lionhead Studios …   Википедия

  • Black Or White — ist ein Lied von Michael Jackson. Es war die erste Singleauskopplung aus seinem Album Dangerous. Komponiert und geschrieben wurde das Lied von Michael Jackson. Der Rap Text stammt von Bill Bottrell. Die E Gitarre im Intro und im Riff wird von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Black or White — ist ein Lied von Michael Jackson. Es war die erste Singleauskopplung aus seinem Album Dangerous, das im November 1991 veröffentlicht wurde. Black or White übermittelt die Botschaft, dass Menschen aller Hautfarben gleich sind („I said if you re… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Black \x26 White 2 — Black White 2 Black and White 2 Разработчик Lionhead Studios Издатель …   Википедия

  • black-and-white — [blak′ən hwīt′, blak′ənwīt′] adj. 1. set down in writing or print 2. partly black and partly white [a black and white tie] 3. a) reproduced, rendered, etc. in black, white, and gray rather than in chromatic colors [a black and white print] b)… …   English World dictionary

  • Black \x26 White — Black White Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Black White Desarrolladora(s) Lionhead Studios Distribuidora(s) Electronic Arts Fecha(s) de lanzamiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Black and White 2 — Black White 2 Éditeur Electronic Arts Développeur Lionhead Studios Concepteur Peter Molyneux, Ronald Millar Sr …   Wikipédia en Français

  • black and white — adj 1.) showing pictures or images only in black, white, and grey →↑colour ▪ black and white photos ▪ an old black and white TV 2.) black and white considering things in a way that is too simple and as if things are either completely good or… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.