Michael’s REAL Lifetime Achievement Award
My embarrassment to admit the following is overwhelming. I am horribly guilty, and I am sorry. It took me over a year after his passing to understand the confusion and guilt that I felt on the day of Michael Jackson’s death. On that tragic June 25th, 2009, I asked myself, “Why is it that so many of my intelligent, savvy and educated clients are deeply saddened by the loss of this “bizarre and eccentric entertainer”?
I had been busy raising my family and knew virtually nothing about Michael Jackson after he embarked on his solo career, except for having heard some strange media-hyped gossip about his using “Jesus Juice” to seduce little boys, and the surgical facial changes that I attributed to some kind of psychological weirdness that must have possessed him. I had Michael pegged in the same hole where I kept the likes of Alice Cooper and Madonna. In my opinion, these entertainers were morally skewed in their personal lives, as well as the style with which they expressed their “art.” I don’t mean to step on the toes of their fans, or the fans of Dracula, Godzilla or any other horrific character, but this is the camp, in my mind, where this celebrity belonged. I passed judgment on the caricature who many referred to as “Wacko Jacko,” and in so doing, I joined the throngs who threw sharp arrows at the sensitive soul who was named Michael Joseph Jackson. I thus hurt him. I sentenced him unfairly, and my unjust attitude made his life unnecessarily painful. I now realize my narrow-minded mistake. I now sincerely and humbly repent.
I totally enjoyed We Are The World, and used to dance around the house with my babies singing the song. I never attributed it to Michael, really. I was clueless about who wrote and produced this song. All I knew was that “his kind” of strange influence didn’t have a place in our home…my home was filled with the innocence of five, beautiful children. Unbeknownst to me, I was surrounded by the kind of pure-heartedness that he himself possessed.
A beloved teacher from my past once said, “Children are the flowers in God’s garden.” I now realize that Michael cared deeply about the preservation of a child’s true nature. I believe that Michael was tuned into a much higher consciousness than most, and profoundly understood this Truth.
Michael was a sincere lover of humanity, and he lived his entire life with the intention to “walk the talk.” He gave more money to charitable causes than any other popular artist in history. He did this not for show, or for attention. His motives were authentic. He was the real deal!
This interview with Michael’s voice coach of over 30 years, speaks about his extremely caring and playful nature:
“He had a great heart. He went everywhere that somebody was in trouble. He went and shelled out money to buy what they needed or to fix their lives… There are a lot of things people don’t understand about Michael. He would never, NEVER upset a child in any way.” ~Seth Riggs, Michael’s vocal coach
In Michael’s musical career, he surpassed all record sales previously set by any other musicians, including The Beatles and Elvis. He broke records with his humanitarian efforts, too. Michael Jackson is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star, listing the following 39 international organizations to which he consistently gifted.
- AIDS Project L.A.
- American Cancer Society
- Angel Food
- Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles
- BMI Foundation, Inc.
- Brotherhood Crusade
- Brothman Burn Center
- Camp Ronald McDonald
- Childhelp U.S.A.
- Children’s Institute International
- Cities and Schools Scholarship Fund
- Community Youth Sports & Arts Foundation
- Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
- Dakar Foundation
- Dreamstreet Kids
- Dreams Come True Charity
- Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation
- Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
- Love Match
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Minority Aids Project
- Motown Museum
- National Rainbow Coalition
- Rotary Club of Australia
- Society of Singers
- Starlight Foundation
- The Carter Center’s Atlanta Project
- The Sickle Cell Research Foundation
- United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
- United Negro College Fund Ladder’s of Hope
- Volunteers of America
- Watts Summer Festival
- Wish Granting
- YMCA – 28th Street/Crenshaw
This list is not complete. Michael founded The Heal The World Foundation in 1992 as a charitable organization to aid children and the environment. Its many goals included providing medicine for children, and fighting world hunger, as well as drug, alcohol and child abuse. Although no longer operating, Heal The World Foundation worked with established local and national organizations in order to share expertise to deliver needed services to disadvantaged children.
Michael donated massive amounts of money from the proceeds of his concerts toward numerous children’s charitable causes. There were times when he gifted 100% of a given concert tour or promotional work.
Michael Jackson launched a charity initiative that he named Heal the Kids. He stated, “Heal the Kids will help adults and parents realize it’s in our power to change the world our children live in.” As part of the launch of his “Heal the Kids” initiative, Michael delivered a speech at Oxford University about raising children. In the speech, he spoke of his own children saying, “What if they grow older and resent me, and how my choices impacted their youth?…’Why weren’t we given a normal childhood like all the other children?’ And at that moment I pray that my children will give me the benefit of the doubt. That they will say to themselves: ‘Our daddy did the best he could, given the unique circumstances he faced.’ I hope that they will focus on the positives things, on the sacrifices I willingly made for them…”
Listen to Michael speak on these pertinent issues:
Michael’s childlike delivery is endearing. His depth of sensitivity and conscious concern is admirable. Through his music, poetry and preserved movies and interviews, Michael Jackson’s gentle and sincere manner continues to inspire and unite people from all over the world, of all ages and all races, of rich and poor.
Last winter, at the annual Grammy Awards, Prince Joseph Jackson accepted the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of his father, Michael Jackson. A mere seven months after losing his “Daddy,” Prince announced that he and his siblings will continue to spread their father’s message of love, and “help the world.” He concluded with, “We love you, Daddy.”
Michael would have been very proud. He would have valued the simple message, declared by his 13 year old son to the world, more than all his brilliant music and dance accomplishments combined over decades. Michael’s pinnacle achievement, the real ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ was given to him by his son, who promised the whole world to carry out his father’s legacy. It’s no accident that Prince, while clutching that Grammy for Michael, recognized his father’s most significant life achievements.