So much emotion came from the Michael Jackson tribute during the Grammy Awards on Sunday night (January 31). Lionel Richie, Jackson’s longtime friend and “We Are The World” collaborator introduced the set, saying Michael “dared to believe that he could make the world a better place.”
As the performance began, we heard the timeless icon’s voice talk about the how he hated pollution and destruction of the earth. “That stuff really bothers me,” Jackson said in the recording. “That’s why I write these kinda songs, to give some kind of awareness and awakening and hope to people. I love the planet. I love trees. When the colors are changing in the leaves, I love it.” The recording led into Jackson’s “Earth Song.”
Usher followed up MJ’s vocals, walking onstage singing, “Did you ever stop to notice/ All the blood we’ve shed before?/ Did you ever stop to notice/ The crying Earth, the weeping shores?”
“What have we done to the world?” Jackson’s voice came back in. Behind the performers was a mini-movie, which was featured in the concert film “Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” playing on huge screens. The film was in 3-D, and you could see celebrities in the audience such as Beyoncé and Rihanna wearing 3-D glasses.
“What about flowering fields?” Carrie Underwood came out singing. “Is there a time?/ What about all the dreams/ That you said was yours and mine?” Jennifer Hudson then joined in, and Smokey Robinson came next.
As the song ended, they all turned, with their backs facing the audience, to look at photos of the late Jackson on screens that hung above the stage.
Jackson’s children, Prince Michael and Paris, accepted a Grammy lifetime-achievement award for their father after the performance.
“Our father was always concerned about the planet and humanity,” Prince said. “Through all his hard work and dedication, he has helped many charities and donated to all of them. Throughout his songs, his message was simple: love. We will continue to spread his message and help the world. Thank you. We love you, Daddy.”