Michael Jackson emerged in the 1970s, when black popular culture was straddling the contradictory impulses toward the celebration of an essentialized black identity and the desires of many for non-threatening – non-racial – popular acceptance. As Dr. Ricky Vincent argues, Mr. Jackson was to become the world’s greatest interpreter of black styles, from soul to disco to pop and even hip hop, a great unifier, utilizing the talents of popular stars from outside of the black music world such as Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen and Vincent Price on Jackson’s landmark “Thriller” album.