Michael Jackson, The Humanitarian



The media continues to run blaring headlines questioning the custody of Michael Jackson’s children, Joe Jackson’s charges of homicide, and speculation over control of the multi-million dollar estate. Yet, one of the most important aspects of Michael Jackson’s legacy is conspicuously under-reported — his humanitarianism, specifically his affinity for Africa.

Jackson’s first visited Africa in 1974 at age 14; he and his brothers traveled to Senegal, in West Africa. According to a recently released film covering the trip, while there, the group “performed specially written songs” and toured the country.

At age 33 Michael returned to the Continent, where, according to Ebony Magazine, he traveled to Gabon, Ivory Coast, and other countries. At every stop the wildly popular Jackson drew large and enthusiastic crowds. In Gabon, the spectators were more numerous than Nelson Mandela’s. And in the Ivory Coast, Jackson’s crowds were larger than those that came out for the Pope! During that trip, which was poorly reported in the U.S., Jackson prioritized humanitarian acts for example visiting children in schools and the sick in hospitals.

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