You’ve all heard the news: the King of Pop--Michael Jackson has passed. CGG wants to remember and honor the charitable “king” and all of his efforts to give back. He will always be remembered for his own talent as a performer but there is so much more that Michael did to impact the world outside the entertainment industry.
Michael may have been bombarded by the paparazzi for controversial subjects in recent years, but MJ even used the invasive press for charitable acts. In 1984 he pressed charges against Pepsi Cola for getting set on fire during a video shoot and gave the $1.5 million to create the “Michael Jackson Burn Center” to help burn victims. In 1997, he raised $3 million from photographs of his son, Prince Michael which he sold to OK! Magazine and The National Enquirer. All of the money went to his Heal the World foundation.
But Michael’s efforts began when he was just a young boy. Michael and his brothers formed the Jackson 5 and became teen idols—the first black teen idols in America. Michael Jackson's face appeared on the covers of teen magazines; the band even became the subject of an animated Saturday-morning TV show, another first for an African-American group. During his solo career, Michael was almost single-handedly responsible for getting videos by African-American artists on MTV when he came to prominence in the 1980s.
Michael used his influence as the “King of Pop” to bring important issues into the mainstream media through his songs and music videos. “Heal the World” was only one of many charitable songs Michael created throughout his career. He formed his own foundation in 1992 after the charitable single. Through his Heal the World Foundation, MJ airlifted 46 tons of supplies to Sarajevo, instituted drug and alcohol abuse education and donated millions of dollars to less fortunate children.
Michael’s passion for humanitarianism, equality, and world peace comes across in many of songs. The most prominent include “Can You Feel It,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “We Are the World”—undoubtedly the most famous of the group. Michael teamed up with Lionel Richie for “We Are the World,” to aid the poor in Africa and the U.S. The single became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with nearly 20 million copies sold and millions of dollars donated to famine relief. MJ also supported the green movement in eco-tunes like “Earth Song”—the video for which showed images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution and war.
There is no doubt that he set a new standard of responsibility any celebrity has to give back and make change in the world. Michael supported 39 charities and donated millions of dollars to important causes through his foundation. Where will Michael’s legacy go? Which of his many charitable projects will he be most known for? Tell us what you think—comment below.
While we grieve Michael’s death, CGG also recognizes the passing of two other generous and great celebrities-- Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon.