Black or White, a mix of hard rock, dance and hip hop, was the first single taken from Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album released in November 1991. Written, composed, and arranged by Michael 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, are performed by guitarist Slash and Bill Bottrell.
The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, as well as in 18 other countries. 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 of Cheers Fame), who demands he stops playing the music and go to bed. The kid decides to forego his father’s request to go to sleep by setting up large speaker cabinets behind his father’s reclining chair, donning one leather glove and sunglasses, and playing an extremely loud power chord on an electric guitar. The sound then shatters the house’s windows and sends his father (seated in his chair) halfway around the world, where the actual song begins. The kid’s mother (Tess Harper) 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; the CD version voice-over features Andres McKenzie, a 12-year-old Los Angeles native who was also a child actor. The father winds up in Africa, and Jackson begins to sing “Black or White“, surrounded by various different cultures scene-by-scene.
Watch the full version of “Black Or White” by Michael Jackson
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