Michael Jackson is due to perform publically for the first time in ten years. He will be performing the graveyard scene from the “Thriller” video at the World Music Awards tonight, where he is also accepting the “Diamond” award for artists who have sold over 100 million records. It is the 25th anniversary of Thriller, which is the top selling album of all time with 40 million copies sold since it came out in 1981.
Jackson was photographed recently with disturbingly discolored Howard Hughs-like long nails. I’m not a doctor, but dark nails like that are definitely not normal. I tried to figure out what conditions that might indicate, and it seems like it could be a side effect of medication, particularly the cancer drug Cytoxan. Discolored nails can also be a symptom of cancer or some kind of poisoning, but from what I understand they usually show lines of discoloration or one oddly-colored nail, not consistently dark nail beds on each finger. (It could also be some sort of fungal or bacterial infection, which is probably most likely but doesn’t make for as interesting a story.)
Cytoxan is prescribed for cancer treatment and sometimes for kidney problems in children. Michael Jackson was sick several days during his trial in early 2005. He claimed to have suffered a bad spider bite at one point, and also had a “flu-like” illness that required hospitalization that many people assumed was stress from the trial. (Jackson was ultimately aquitted on all charges, and the latest news is that his accuser’s mother had defrauded the US government for more than $8,000 in welfare.)
Why are Michael Jackson’s nails so dark? Is he on Cytoxan for cancer, does he have nail fungus, or could he suffer from some strange medical condition that isn’t easily Googled? Are there any doctors out there than can provide some insight into my speculation of Jackson’s health? He definitely doesn’t look healthy and has some sort of scratch on his nose. His extreme plastic surgery and ghostly-white skin, which he claims is due to Vitiligo but is widely thought to be elective skin whitening, have made him look deathly ill for years.
It’s rather amazing that he’s performing again, though, and it seems kind of fitting that he’ll be doing “Thriller.”
Thanks to WWTDD for the header picture.
Update: commentor Nadine notes that she took Cytoxan for breast cancer and that her nails turned purple and then black, not the copper color as seen here. Other commentors mention that his nails have been this color for some time, and that he has tried to cover it up in the past.
Janet Charlton says that Jackson’s nails are that funky color due to the Vitiligo treatment he receives:
With the spotlight on Michael Jackson and his catastrophically reviewed performance on the World Music Awards, closeup photos of his hands are circulating. Observers have exclaimed that his peculiar looking dark, rough fingernails nails indicate that he’s desperately in need of a good manicure. Actually those brown nails are a result of Michael’s vitiligo. Back when Jackson started getting white skin discolorations he had a choice of two treatments. He could use medication to darken the white areas on his skin or use medication to bleach and lighten his brown skin. Usually patients choose to change the color of their spots, but Michael wanted to lighten all his skin to match the white areas. The skin under his nails is discolored, which is a side effect of the process. Only recently did he start showing his hands – he usually keeps them out of sight so he doesn’t SCARE children.