Ambassador Charlie Ray
November 25, 2009
There are some subjects it is unwise to disagree with popular
opinion about. Politics, religion, and Michael Jackson are on
that list of taboo subjects. However; I have something of a
reputation for rushing in where some folks fear to tread. And,
I feel a certain obligation to defend my friend, Michael.
In private conversations with music industry friends I have
expressed my opinions concerning Michael's legal problems. Some
people have said I am defending "unacceptable behavior."
I disagree and point out he was never convicted. I maintain
and defend my opinion.
My relationship with Michael began as business based. I promoted
two of his albums. "Thriller" has been the largest
selling album of all time for many years. I predict it will
continue selling almost unbelievable numbers of copies for many
years to come. I promoted both, "Thriller" and "Bad."
I began our relationship with large amounts of respect and admiration
for his talent, showmanship, dedication to his fans, and his
innate knowledge of the entertainment industry. His business
savvy greatly exceeded his age. As time went on, I developed
both a strong fondness for him and a lot of concern for his
total inability to recognize envy, greed, and uncontrolled ambition
in other people.
Michael grew up in a surreal fairy tale world. When he was only
five years old, he was touring with The Jackson Five. He quickly
became a child star. Everything he could dream of except a normal
childhood was there for him. He was loved and pampered by everyone
around him. He saw hundreds of millions of adoring fans populating
his entire universe. He could do no wrong. No harm could befall
him. Goodness and mercy surrounded him.
As he grew older, he applied his business skills and became
one of the world's super wealthy. Older more experienced people
advised him against paying $600 million for the publishing rights
to the early Beetles music catalog. Nobody had ever paid nearly
as much for publishing rights. He followed his gut and went
against their advice. It has proven to be a very astute business
move. His many decisions concerning the composition, production,
presentation, and promotion of "Thriller" were equally
His downfall and early death sprang from that same fairy tale
life. He had more than enough money to buy anything he could
imagine. There was nobody for him to envy. He had it all. He
was by nature a truly considerate and compassionate person.
He had achieved his amazing success without harming anyone.
He had lived in a world that was sheltered and isolated from
mean and angry people.
The negative emotions of fear, envy, greed, and uncontrolled
ambitions were alien concepts to him. He had never been the
carrier or victim of such thoughts and feelings. He understood
the meaning of those concepts the same way most people understand
war. They were bad things that happened far away to people he
did not know. They existed in a world he had never been exposed
I tried to explain bad people to him. I told him there are two
ways to have the tallest tree in town. Loving people do so,
by planting, nurturing, and caring for their trees. Maladjusted,
angry, envious, blindly ambitious, and bitter people do so by
cutting down everyone else's tall trees. He just shot me that
famous smile, rolled his eyes, and said, "You should have
more faith in our fellow man."
Michael loved people. He especially loved children. He enjoyed
being around children. It provided a vicarious way of experiencing
the "normal" childhood he never experienced. Children
shared an innocence his fairy tale life had left intact within
him. Other adults had lost that innocence. The advice I offered
proved my own fall from grace. I and those who offered similar
warnings were cynical and unable to see all the love and beauty
surrounding him and each of us.
Michael's first exposure to the evil side of people was the
original accusation of child molestation. In his mind, it was
a very rare aberration. It was not indicative of people in general.
He adopted the Christly response of, "Forgive them, Father.
They know not what they do." He responded to the parents'
greed with loving kindness. He gave them a few million dollars.
Perhaps; it would allow them to grow, be happy, and lay down
their ways of sin. If nothing else; it would teach them how
insignificant a few million dollars were.
I tried to warn him the out of court settlement marked him as
an easy target for similar people. I said other greedy parents
would be willing to use their children to extort greater amounts.
He had not lost his faith in love and goodness. The fact two
poor misguided parents had given in to greed did not mean others
would behave in a similar fashion.
I pointed out the long established career paths of many politicians.
The successful prosecution of celebrities has taken many unscrupulous
blindly ambitious politicians into higher more powerful offices.
Power hunger has driven bad people to do anything imaginable
to acquire and abuse power over ever increasing numbers of regular
people. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Prosecuting attorneys have near absolute power.
Of course; it did happen again. Another set of parents was willing
to rob their child of innocence. Another power hungry prosecutor
viciously used Michael in a bid for higher office. The international
broadcast news media used his misfortune to raise audience ratings.
They joined in the effort to smear what was left of his reputation.
They became foul smelling vultures feasting on the bleeding
flesh of a magnificent and graceful antelope.
Michael won the battle, but lost his faith in the fundamental
goodness of humanity. He left the country of his birth. He changed
his entire life. He ran to avoid the next accusation and trial.
He knew it would come, if he remained here. This country he
loved so much was no longer safe. He knew would be tormented
by a long string of prosecuting attorneys. Each seeking to be
the one who put that "menace to society" behind bars.
I fully expected the international media report his death was
linked to drug abuse. It was linked. However; I know the true
cause of his death. My friend died from a broken heart. He could
not live in the vicious greedy world he was immersed in. The
exposure to greed, envy, and run away ambition came too late
in life. He never had a chance to develop the immunity most
of us develop at a much younger age.
His death has deprived our world of a great talent, a truly
kind and generous person, and the most innocent adult I have
ever known. I hope the parents and prosecutors who did this
to us find themselves in the worse part of Dante's Inferno.
As a closing comment I am compelled to say, "Ask not for
whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."
About the Author: Ambassador Charlie Ray
Ambassador Charlie Ray has been promotioning various aspects
of the entertainment industry for more than 40 years. He promoted
both the largest selling album of all time, "Thriller"
and "Bad" for Michael Jackson. Co-produced and promoted
the largest country music festival in Eastern Europe, at Mosina,
Poland. He created, produced, and promoted the largest independent
festival in Nashville. And, has promoted albums by numerous
top selling country, gospel, and pop music stars. He promoted
successful campaigns for Governors of eight states, and the
first campaign of President Bill Clinton. He has been inducted
into numerous Halls of Fame, including the Southern Rock Alliance,
Lone Star State Country Music Association, Nebraska Country
Music Association, International Gospel Music Association, and
the International Country Music Association. More information
concerning his decades of success as a promoter can be found
in the Official Proclamation from the Tennessee State House
of Representatives. It is posted at the bottom of "Accomplishments"
on his web site www.charlieraymusic.com
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