As I was listening to Michael sing this beautiful song that he sang after Ryan White's death in his memory, I remembered a CBS article that Ryan's mother gave after Jackson's own death. I'm not going to give a detailed history of Ryan White or his relationship with Jackson, other than to say when Ryan was diagnosed with AIDS, he was shunned from his own community. We have to remember that in that time period, EVERYONE was terrified of AIDS. Ryan was barred from his school and his community rejected him. But not Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson befriended the young Ryan White, and advocated for him and for AIDS research for the rest of his life.
(You can read more about Ryan's story in his own words here.)
After Michael died, Ryan's mother gave an interview to CBS, see the link above. Mrs. White-Ginder stated that both she and Ryan were invited to Neverland many times in Ryan's short life. Ginder-White stated that although cameras were not normally allowed at Jackson's ranch, Michael arranged for Ryan to have his own camera and take pictures freely there. Ginder-White added that she felt Michael was "amazed" with Ryan, because Ryan did not want anyone to feel sorry for him, nor did he blame anyone for his disease. She also added that she had no reservations letting Ryan stay at Neverland, with or without her.
"He didn't care what race you were, what color you were, what your handicap was, what was your disease....Michael just loved all children."
White-Ginder stated that Jackson had given Ryan a red Mustang for his 18th birthday. The Mustang was at Ryan's funeral, that Michael Jackson attended (along with Ryan's good friend Elton John.) Michael started the car at the funeral, and Man in the Mirror was playing in the CD player.
Ryan's mom stated that "the little things made Michael so happy. You could see it in his eyes. He was smiling from ear to ear and he said, 'I was the last person that Ryan listened to.' And I said yes, because Ryan listened to Man in the Mirror over and over and over again."
3 days after Ryan died, Michael Jackson called Mrs. White-Ginder because he had promised that Ryan could be in his next video, but Ryan died. Michael Jackson made the video in honor of Ryan White, who was gone too soon, dying at the tender age of 18. ___________________________________________________________________
This is why so many advocate for the legacy of Michael Jackson. We know that the media conspired against him along with many others and that he did not see total vindication in his lifetime. Yet his children and his family, his friends and his fans ARE still here on earth, and so we continue to campaign against the tabloid trash that still continues to exploit him.
We must remember what Michael's base message was...and that was to love one another, even if we are considered to be "different". With that, we cannot continue to attack one another, but LEARN from our differences. We all want justice. We all want vindication. We all want to see Michael's legacy changed in the eye of the majority of the public. We must stand as one on the most important aspects of Michael Jackson's legacy. We cannot ever lose sight that at the core, it's all for L.O.V.E.