Monday, June 29, 2009

My Close Encounter with Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was a legend and a hero in his own right. He was one of the most influential artists in the world. His career began at a young age, and lasted almost forty years.

I had the opportunity to become associated with Michael Jackson about 10 years ago. In 2002, I was hired as Ben Johnson’s PR agent and helped to launch his clothing line, BJ Sportswear. Ben Johnson is a former Canadian Olympic gold medalist and is still recognized today. The clothing line went worldwide, and during this time, I had the pleasure of working with, and getting to know Ben. Ben and Michael were old friends and Ben wanted Michael to help debut his clothing line. Unfortunately, due to Mr. Jackson’s prior contractual obligation, this did not take place. However, my dealings with Michael and his publicity spokespeople were positive.

Michael was one of the most talented musicians of his time. For the people who are not familiar with his accomplishment, his achievements include setting multiple Guinness World Records - including one for "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time." He won 13 Grammy Awards, and had thirteen #1 singles in his solo career. He also sold 750 million records worldwide. Jackson sold out all of his concerts, regardless of the size of the venue. He constantly broke records for concert size. These are not small accomplishments!

Throughout his career he received numerous honours and awards, including the World Music Awards' Best-Selling Pop Male Artist of the Millennium, the American Music Awards' Artist of the Century Award and the Bambi Pop Artist of the Millennium Award. He was a double-inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once as a member of lead singer of The Jackson 5 in 1997 and later as a solo artist in 2001. Jackson was also an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

I remember in the early 1980s, he became a dominant figure in popular and the first African American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance moves, such as the robot and the moonwalk. Jackson's work, distinctive musical sound and vocal style have influenced hip hop, pop, and R&B artists, including Mariah Carey, Usher, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and R.Kelly. For much of his career, he had an "unparalleled" level of worldwide influence over the younger generation through his musical and humanitarian contributions.

Unlike many artists, Jackson did not write his songs on paper. Instead he would dictate into a sound recorder; when recording he would sing from memory. Fans observed how Jackson transformed the music video into an art form and a promotional tool through complex story lines, dance routines, special effects and famous cameo appearances; simultaneously breaking down racial barriers.

Jackson donated and raised millions of dollars for beneficial causes through his foundations, charity singles, and support of 39 charities. The singer had experienced health concerns since the early 1990s – but I am still in shock about his death. I send my sincerest condolences out to his family, friends and fans.

I am hoping to gather tens of thousands of well wisher messages showing fan support and love for Michael Jackson and his family at this crucial time. I aim to create a collage to send to the Jackson family. Make sure his family gets your message. Please send to

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