In 1985, Ebony Magazine Predicted How These Stars Would Look in the Year 2000

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Back in August 1985, Ebony magazine published an article entitled “Portraits of the Stars” in which they predicted how various black celebrities would look in the year 2000. At the time, the year 2000 sounded like a long way away, but in truth, it was only 15 years, so frankly, there shouldn’t have been a terribly drastic change in anyone’s looks — well, except for Michael Jackson. Anyway, let’s see how Ebony did…

#1 Michael Jackson

So, basically, Ebony has Michael Jackson turning into Billy Dee Williams -- apparently by borrowing his dad's pencil mustache. This is a pretty good guess, because no one could've predicted MJ's battle with vitiligo and the plastic surgeries that changed his look so dramatically, so we'll give them a pass on this miss.

#2 Jayne Kennedy / Magic Johnson

Ebony Portraits of the Stars - Magic Johnson

Ebony had Jayne Kennedy, one of the iconic sex symbols of her era, with a more buttoned-up, Oprah-like look by the year 2000 -- which is appropriate, given she would be nearly 50 years old. This is a good guess and not too far off base, except I don't recall her ever having such short hair. For Magic Johnson, all they did was add some wrinkles, which might actually make this the most accurate of all (except he'd gotten rid of his facial hair by then), since 15 years typically doesn't age people too much. After all, black don't crack.

#3 Emmanuel Lewis / Debbie Allen / Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Ebony Portraits of the Stars - Kareem Abdul Jabbar

OK, here we start to get a bit lazy. It looks like all they did was slap a mustache on Emmanuel Lewis (which, to my knowledge, he never sported) and put some gray highlights on Debbie Allen. (Sidebar: The prediction that she will have "settled gracefully into the role of motherhood" feels like a relic of the gender roles of the time.) As for Kareem, it didn't take a rocket scientist to predict he was losing his hair, but he chose to shave his head before it got to this point. 

#4 Muhammad Ali / Billy Dee Williams / Kim Fields

Even though his Parkinson's had reduced his mobility by the year 2000, Muhammad Ali didn't look as old as this corpse-like mockup. Billy Dee Williams' white streaks, meanwhile, make him look like Pepe Le Pew. And what's up with Kim Fields? She STILL doesn't look this old! She was only gonna be 32 in the year 2000; why make her look like some sort of Tyler Perry schoolmarm?

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Written by Montego Bae

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