Michael Jackson and the Pledge of Allegiance

Here's a reader submission that the contributor first heard in 1984 in Placentia, CA. It would probably get kids in a lot more trouble now than it did back then.

I pledge allegiance to the flag,
Michael Jackson is a fag.
Pepsi Cola burnt him up,
now he's drinking 7-UP.

The rhyme circulated a lot, and appeared in at least three scholarly works on children's folklore in the mid-late 80s, and there's a 1994 book about black identity in popular culture  which identifies it as a jump rope rhyme. When I heard it (circa the spring of 1992 in Des Moines), there were two more lines:

7-UP made him pee,
now he's drinking Pepsi Free

I'm not sure this one survives among today's kids. It seems like an obvious enough move to turn "Michael Jackson" into, say, "Justin Bieber," but maybe a guy really does have to be doing soda commercials for this one to work.  Then again, by the time it had filtered to my fifth grade, the story about him being burned while filming a Pepsi commercial had faded away; I didn't make the connection at the time, personally. 

It MAY have been that the "burnt up" line had to stop seeming topical before kids felt like they could add more verses about other calamities that rhymed with soft drinks, but I doubt it. I can imagine that some schools stretched this one into many more verses (I hate to say it, but I'd be shocked if no one, anywhere, added a line about him drinking Sprite because 7-Up made him white). 

Without wishing to endorse the first (easily changeable) couple of lines, here are a few off the top of my head:

Pepsi free made him choke
now he's drinking diet coke
diet coke made him spew
now he's drinking mountain dew
mountain dew made him hurt
now he's drinking cans of squirt

Easy. Change the first lines to some other Playground rhyme staple ("Michael jackson went to France / to teach the ladies how to dance" works just fine), and then you can go on for days.

Incidentally, I don't think Michael Jackson actually drank any of those drinks. 


  1. Northern VA, 2000s, we didn't have the Michael Jackson part but we had
    "Coca Cola came to town
    Mr. Pibb shot him down
    Dr. Pepper fixed him up
    now we all drink 7-Up
    7-Up caught the flu
    Now we all drink Mountain Dew
    Mountain Dew caught it too
    Now we don't know what to do"

  2. New Hampshire, mid-1980s

    I pledge allegiance to the flag
    Michael Jackson is a fag
    Fill him up with Coke and beer --

    (and then the teacher put a stop to it; I never learned what the fourth line as)

  3. Definitely in northern NJ about 84-85. The reference to "burned him up" in our version was a reference literally to the ill-fated commercial, and the common expression of anger or frustration.

    We had

    Pepsi Cola burned him up
    Now he's drinking 7-Up
    7-Up made him choke
    Now he's drinking Diet Coke
    Diet Coke gave him lice
    Now he's drinking Orange Slice
    Orange Slice made him spew
    Now he's drinking Mountain Dew

  4. I went to Bella Vista Elementary in Monterey Park, CA during the early 80s, and we sang the exact version you have from Placentia.

    With regard to your presumptive version about Sprite turning him white, I don't think that would've been a modification for one reason: Michael Jackson, as well as his then-FOIL Prince, transcended race. I was one of three black kids at my entirely Asian and Hispanic school, and I was on high-alert for anything that mocked my identity (primarily because I didn't really have one.) While Eddie Murphy, for example, was definitely talked about as black, no one ever talked about Jackson or Prince as black artists. I don't remember anyone talking about Jackson's racial metamorphosis until I was in junior high in the 90s, when Jackson completed his transformation into lunacy.

  5. I grew in the 90s in New Orleans our version was

    I pledge allegiance to the flag
    Michael Jackson is a fag
    Coca cola beat him up
    now he's drinking 7 Up
    7up had too much 'feine
    Now he's singing Billie Jean
    Billie Jean made too mcuh noise
    Now he's raping little boys


PLEASE tell us where and when you heard your version (ie, "Chicago, early 1950s). And please be aware that the information may end up in a book sooner or later. Comments are screened; too much spam.