Michael Jackson white glove: Why did MJ wear a single glove? Why did MC Hammer want it?

Michael Jackson’s brothers pay tribute to him on This Morning

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Thirty years ago today, MC Hammer offered a reward of $50,000 for the return of Michael Jackson’s iconic glittering white glove, which had been stolen from the Motown Museum. The star had donated the glove along with a hat to the museum in 1988, plus a donation of $125,000. Hammer had made no secret of his own desire to own the legendary item.

Jackson was first inspired to experiment with just one half of pair of gloves during the making of the Can You Feel It video with his brothers in 1980.

John Kehe was the video designer and met Jackson at the production facilities of Robert Abel & Associates, where Michael suddenly saw the inspiration for his classic look.

John said: “Rick [Ross, the chief film editor] was wearing a short white cotton glove on his left hand as he ran the film through his fingers, looking for the yellow grease-pencil marks he had made on various frames of film to be edited.”

Film editors typically had a box of these disposable gloves on their desks.

John added: “Michael, who hadn’t shown any particular enthusiasm for the tour so far, seemed suddenly transfixed by the glove and politely asked a number of questions about it, concluding with, ‘Could you spare one?'”

And so a legendary look was born. But why did MJ love it so much? What did it mean to him?

Michael first wore the glove on his left hand at Motown’s 25th anniversary TV special in 1983, where the singer performed Billie Jean. This is also the first time Michael performed the moonwalk, though only for a brief moment.

Former bodyguard Matt Fiddes said: “He knew how to manipulate the media. He knew exactly how to get the front pages. He used to have a meeting as soon as he got to a city. 90 percent of the time it worked, by putting a mask on his face, or sticky tape on his hands – or tape on his nose was a favourite one.

“He would say he wanted his life to be the greatest mystery on Earth.”

Jackson himself once simply said: “I felt one glove was cool. Wearing two seemed so ordinary.”

The glove became so extraordinary that MC Hammer wanted to challenge MJ for the right to own it.

The video for Hammer’s 1991 single 2 Legit 2 Quit shows legend James Brown telling Hammer to go on a quest to get the glove. It will all be decided with a dance-off between Hammer and Jackson (only shown from behind), which the new pretender wins.

This started reports of a feud between the two stars, although Hammer later said that Jackson had called him to personally say he was not offended by the video. The two stars would appear together at Brown’s 2006 funeral.

The 1991 theft was soon solved, with the glove discovered two days later and returned to the museum.

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