Why did Michael Jackson wear his iconic single white glove?
13 January 2022, 14:03
Michael Jackson was one of the most iconic performers of all time as he often set trends within mainstream music and popular culture.
Michael Jackson’s music and style had a huge influence on the world, whether it was his unforgettable ‘Thriller’ dance move or his unique fashion statements.
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One of Michael’s most unforgettable costume choices was his iconic single white glove. He would often wear it on stage and it became part of his Bad-era and branding.
But why did Michael Jackson wear a single white glove? And what did it symbolise for him? Here’s everything you need to know about Michael Jackson’s iconic costume piece.
Why did Michael Jackson wear a single white glove?
Michael Jackson’s glove was an iconic part of his image on stage and fascinated many. While the exact reason for wearing the glove is unknown, there are several suggestions as to why Michael added it into his brand.
It’s been suggested that Michael may have worn the glove due to his skin condition vitiligo while others have said it was done to manipulate the press.
In a rare conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Michael confirmed that he had a skin condition and mentioned that he found it hurtful when it was discussed in the media.
Michael said: “This is the situation, I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin. It is something I cannot help, OK?
“But when people make up stories that I don’t want to be what I am it hurts me … It’s a problem for me that I can’t control.”
A simpler suggestion is that Michael liked to try new things and used it as a way to be unique and creative with his on-stage costume.
According to The Independent, Michael once spoke about why he decided to wear one glove instead of two.
"I felt that one glove was cool… wearing two gloves seemed so ordinary," Michael explained.
What was Michael Jackson’s inspiration for the single white glove?
Michael Jackson’s fascination with the white glove is said to have started around the time of the release of The Jackson 5’s track ‘Can You Feel It’ in 1980.
Michael is said to have visited the Robert Abel & Associates production company and got the idea for the glove whilst on a tour of the facilities.
John Kehe is said to have conducted the tour with Michael and recounted his experience of how their meeting inspired Michael’s iconic costume piece.
In an article for the Christian Science Monitor, John explained that as he showed Michael around the premises they entered into an editing suite. It was here that Michael saw chief film editor Rick Ross editing a television advert.
Rick is said to have been searching for an editing point and ran one of his hands through the film on which he wore a single, white, disposable cotton glove.
“Michael, who hadn't shown any particular enthusiasm for the tour so far, seemed suddenly transfixed by the glove,” John wrote in the article.
“[He] politely asked a number of questions about it, concluding with, ‘Could you spare one?’ But of course.”
John continued: “The rest, they say, is HIStory.”
How much did Michael Jackson’s iconic glove sell for at auction?
In 2020, Michael Jackson’s iconic white glove sold for more than £85,000 at an auction - it was sold to an anonymous buyer in Texas in the United States.
As well as the glove, the winning bidder also received a letter of authenticity. It confirmed that the glove was first donated to Unicef in 1998 along with an envelope from the MJJ production company that was founded by Michael, The Sun reports.
When did Michael Jackson first debut the white glove?
Michael Jackson wore the crystal-studded glove on stage and in music videos throughout his career. Michael’s accessory debuted on TV for the first time in 1983.
He wore the glove on his left hand during his unforgettable performance of ‘Billie Jean’ on Motown’s 25th anniversary TV special.
As Michael’s look and sound progressed, the white glove became an integral part of Michael’s on-stage uniform during the Bad Tour.