Michael Jackson's friend

During his legendary career, Michael Jackson became synonymous with his iconic accessory – a single white glove worn on his right hand. But what was the motivation behind this unique fashion choice? Actor Cicely Tyson, a close friend of Jackson’s, shed some light on the matter.

In an interview following the singer’s death in 2009, Tyson revealed that the glove was initially designed to “camouflage” the signs of Jackson’s skin condition called vitiligo. This condition causes the loss of skin color in patches, most commonly on the face, neck, and hands. It is caused by a lack of melanin, the pigment in the skin, and affects one in every hundred people.

Tyson, who shared a fashion designer with Jackson in the 1980s, spoke about the creation of the glove during a CNN interview. She explained that as Jackson began developing vitiligo, the designer started working on the glove. According to Tyson, the glove was designed to cover the signs of the condition and “camouflage” it.

Reflecting on her involvement in the creation process, Tyson shared, “I was there when he was creating it.” This statement highlights her close friendship with Jackson and her firsthand knowledge of his struggle with vitiligo.

Michael Jackson first wore his iconic white glove in 1983, and he later explained his preference for wearing just one glove, saying, “I felt that one glove was cool… wearing two gloves seemed so ordinary.” His distinctive fashion choice became an integral part of his image and added to his aura of mystery and style.

Years later, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in the 1990s, Jackson openly discussed having a skin condition, likely referring to vitiligo. Addressing speculation about his changing appearance, Jackson explained, “I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin.” He emphasised that he had no control over it and that it deeply hurt him when people made up stories or questioned his self-identity.

Oprah, who interviewed Jackson, acknowledged the lack of awareness about vitiligo at the time and the sensitivity surrounding the topic for the singer. She remarked, “I think in 1993 nobody understood what it was. Nobody knew anything about vitiligo… I could see that that was one of the areas that was very sensitive to him, obviously.”

In conclusion, the single white glove worn by Michael Jackson became an emblematic symbol of his artistry and individuality. Beyond its visual appeal, the glove served as a means to conceal the effects of vitiligo, a skin condition that deeply affected him. Jackson’s choice to wear the glove showcased his resilience and determination to overcome adversity, inspiring millions around the world.