I think for MJ he was one of those black American who really pushed the definition of what it meant to be a black American. I'm not black, not American. But my assessment of Michael is that.. he never allowed people to limit him with their stereotypical views of what it meant to be black and what does it mean to be American.
He inspired a new breed of global black Americans, who are instantly recognized all over the world, not for their innate blackness but more for their universal appeal. He is one of those people who could connect with any audience, regardless of their racial identity or background. This is something not easy to do, even for MNCs and global conglomerates.
He used the currency of time as his conduit. Not the traditions of before. But that's not to say he abandoned his heritage. In fact very far from that. His musical influences are clearly black, but instead of staying with his roots. He took his roots with him and given his visionary sense of music and dance, pushed his influences to a state that it has never been.
He was born in a period where most blacks were fighting to gain equality for their civil rights. But because he was a child prodigy, and could earn a lot of money from a very young age. He so called "escaped" a lot of troubles by charming his way through prejudices with his youth and talent. At that time, music was one way that black Americans could really achieve the American Dream, and Michael did that and more.
I'm not too sure whether black people can identify with him in terms of his experience. I don't think anyone can though. But I think in terms of his personal struggles in particular with the law and the legal system, they could look up to him.
One of the reasons why Michael didn't go to trial for the 1993 allegations, was because he wasn't sure as a black man would he attain justice. It was very strange, here we have a black superstar who is physically white. Who has achieved so much success, and yet still he wasn't confident about how just he would be treated by the American judicial system. That shows that the fear of being black in America, is still there - child prodigy or not. I think this is a very interesting point you could explore.
In comparison to the 2003 allegations, MJ was confident, but still frightened, although there was no evidence that the prosecutors could bring against him. This is a black innocent man who was frightened of the possibility of injustice. And it is the 21st century. So this shows me that although he didn't have to struggle for the civil rights movements. He knows he is black, and what it meant to be black in America. He is very much aware. But fortunately for him, he had Tom Messereau, a world class lawyer known to do loads of pro bono work for the black community.
After that in his later years MJ spent a lot of his time, connecting with the black community, in a way that he has never done before. Actually connecting to them at grassroot level, focusing on an area he was an expert in, Music and the Music Industry. While denouncing, ignorance of roots, culture and heritage.. and racism he continued to preach his ideology of peace and color blinded-ness.
Another area you could explore was MJ's love for children. MJ has always been a highly sensitive child. That's probably why he could sing like that. Ever since he was a young child, you could see that he loved children. In very old videos of MJ, you would see very young MJ always doting on little babies and children. He is like this new age sensitive guy, with innate paternal instincts. Which is something very rare in men in general. In fact, I feel that Michael single handedly helped inspire a different image of a black man. Sensitive, highly spiritual, very successful, very family oriented, very fatherly, gentle, fragile, intelligent, well spoken, family oriented, a very present and doting father. I think you can easily pull out statistics for your paper, and show how many african american children grow up without a father. In Mj's childrens' case they grew up with an absent mum and a very doting father. You can say all you want about the fact that the kids aren't black. But they are still raised by a black american father. He spent a lot of his time speaking for families and worked hard to fight for meaningful family experience for all people, not just black Americans. Something you don't usually see among black males, or any male for that matter.