By Jamie Neben
Michael Jackson’s sudden demise still remains a top news story, and certainly will continue to be for some time. Yet, we can already witness our collective shock slowly turning to curiosity. Many questions regarding his legal, financial, and medical affairs require answers, and I believe most of the forthcoming information will be made fully available to the media for public consumption. We are sure to learn more about not only how Jackson died, but how he lived. Was he really as bizarre as we were led to believe? Was he perhaps more “normal” than we thought? As the stories, tributes, and arguments about his life and legacy roll in, I would like to offer my own personal feeling about the man. That is, as much as Michael Jackson changed on the outside, the love in his heart for the world and people in it stayed intact from beginning to end.
We can find several examples of his regard for mankind in Jackson’s work. From co-writing the hit single for charity “We are the World,” to material he recorded on his own, the theme is consistent. In fact, the name of his Heal the World Foundation, a humanitarian organization, is taken from one of his songs. Dorian Holley, Jackson’s vocal director for the planned London concerts, recounted the singer’s final days for Time Magazine, telling them that Michael was excited about tour “to spread the message of love and taking care of the planet.”
I do not suggest that Michael Jackson is a saint or should be treated like one. Nor should we fail to put the events in his life—both good and bad—in the proper perspective. But beyond all his gifts and faults, let’s take that message of love, and try our best to spread it in our own ways.