If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then many movie and music-video directors should be deeply honored by ”Black or White,” which tips its hat to any number of sources. Here are some, in order of occurrence:
1. George Wendt barges into Macaulay Culkin’s room and orders him to turn down the loud music; homage to similar parent-child confrontation over heavy metal in Twisted Sister’s 1984 video ”We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
2. Culkin turns up his guitar amp and blows Wendt clean out of the house; homage to Back to the Future (1985), in which Michael J. Fox nearly blows himself out of the house.
3. Aerial shot as Wendt bursts through the roof; homage to a similar aerial shot in Die Hard II (1990), when Bruce Willis blasts out of a cockpit.
4. Jackson and children rap on imitation building stoop; homage to street scenes in Sesame Street.
5. Faces of many races metamorphose into each other; homage to similar, albeit cruder, effect first used in Godley and Creme’s 1985 video, ”Cry.”
6. Jackson tap-dances on a deserted street near a streetlamp; homage to Gene Kelly’s rain dance in 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain.
7. Jackson, hat down, faces hurricane-force winds; homage to scenes in Jackson’s own videos for ”Beat It” (1983) and ”Smooth Criminal” (1988).
8. Jackson throws a garbage can through a storefront; homage to Spike Lee, who did that to set off the climactic riot in Do the Right Thing (1989).