Beyond Fashion: Story Behind Michael Jackson's Iconic White Glove

Sarah Walsh - Author

Jan. 8 2024, Published 9:17 a.m. ET

Micheal Jackson wearing one white glove
Source: Getty Images

Often hailed as the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson left an indelible mark on the world of music and entertainment. His unparalleled talent, visionary approach to music videos, and gravity-defying dance moves have solidified his status as one of the greatest artists of all time!

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Beyond his musical prowess, Michael's unique sense of style, characterized by his signature red leather jacket, the moonwalk, and, most notably, the iconic white glove, has become an enduring symbol of his legacy.

The one white glove, shimmering with sequins — often worn on his right hand — has sparked a lot of curiosity from fans. Keep reading for the story behind the white glove.

Michael Jackson's iconic white glove wasn't just a fashion statement.

Michael Jackson performing during halftime at Super Bowl XXVII on Jan. 31, 1993
Source: Getty Images

While Michael's eccentric wardrobe choices were a staple of his image, his one white glove wasn't just a stylistic quirk.

Instead, it was a purposeful decision that emerged from a deeply personal challenge. Behind the scenes, away from the glitz and glamor of the stage, Michael was grappling with a skin condition called vitiligo.

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The revelation about the glove's origin came from Cicely Tyson. She disclosed that the glove was crafted with a specific purpose — to camouflage the effects of vitiligo on Michael's hand.

As the skin condition progressed, the one white glove became a functional accessory, allowing Michael to manage the changing appearance of his skin while navigating the constant scrutiny from the public and media.

In the 1980s, during an interview with CNN, Tyson shared insights into the creation of the glove, stating, "The glove was to cover the vitiligo; that's how that glove came into being."

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Michael Jackson performing in a red jacket in 1986
Source: Getty Images

Despite eventually acknowledging his vitiligo, Michael initially attributed the single glove to fashion. Originally, he said, "I felt that one glove was cool… wearing two gloves seemed so ordinary."

However, as the public began to question the dramatic change in his appearance, particularly the lightening of his skin tone, Jackson opened up about the skin disorder in a rare interview with Oprah Winfrey during the 1990s. Michael said, "It's a problem for me that I can't control."

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In retrospect, Michael's one white glove stands as a poignant symbol of both his artistic brilliance and the personal challenges he faced. What was initially perceived as a groundbreaking fashion statement turned out to be a carefully considered response to a skin condition that significantly impacted the pop icon's life.

Michael's ability to transform personal adversity into a powerful and iconic element of his public image showcases not only his musical genius but also his resilience and courage. As we remember the King of Pop and his unparalleled contributions to the world of music and performance, the one white glove remains an enduring emblem of Michael Jackson's enduring legacy.

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