- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2009

Hated being black

Although Michael Jackson sang “It don’t matter if you’re black or white” in his 1991 single of the same name, skin color mattered a great deal to the King of Pop, legendary producer Quincy Jones reportedly says in Details magazine.

According to Denverpost.com, Mr. Jones — who helped launch the late Mr. Jackson’s rise to superstardom — claims the entertainer “didn’t want to be black.”

Mr. Jones tells the magazine they talked “all the time” about how Mr. Jackson was changing.

“But he’d come up with, ‘Man, I promise you I have this disease,’ and so forth, and ‘I have a blister on my lungs,’ and all that … . Chemical peels and all that stuff,” Mr. Jones — who first worked with Mr. Jackson on 1979’s “Off the Wall” — is quoted as saying.

“I’ve been around junkies and stuff all my life. I’ve heard every excuse,” Mr. Jones continues. “It’s like smokers — ‘I only smoke when I drink’ and all that stuff. … You’re justifying something that’s destructive to your existence. It’s crazy.”

Mr. Jones says Mr. Jackson’s obsession with his appearance got to be “ridiculous.”

“Chemical peels and all of it. And I don’t understand it,” he says. “But he obviously didn’t want to be black.”

Mr. Jackson, who died June 25 at age 50, maintained that his lightened appearance stemmed from treatments for vittiligo, a skin condition resulting from loss of pigment.

‘Slumdog’ star moves

One of the impoverished child stars from “Slumdog Millionaire” will move from his shanty home in one of Mumbai’s more wretched slums into a new apartment this week, his mother said Sunday.

“On Friday we got the keys,” said Shameem Ismail, the mother of child star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, who played the young Salim in the Oscar-winning hit.

The family started moving in over the weekend, bringing pots and pans, a television set and a bird cage, Associated Press reports. They plan to relocate fully by Tuesday, Mrs. Ismail said.

Both Azharuddin and his co-star Rubina Ali lost their homes in May after civic authorities demolished parts of the slum where they lived.

“Slumdog Millionaire” has grossed more than $350 million worldwide.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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