First of all, it sounds so weird calling out the decade of music I listened to during my teenage years. When I was a kid, I used to love listening to the music of the 50's and 60's. What's not to love? However, I always assumed this music was ancient at the time because the infomercials on tv and the DJ's on the radio stations would refer to the songs as "Oldies but Goodies." So, these days when I hear 80's music, I'm like, the 80's, weren't that long ago! Maybe it is all in my mind but it seems these days the references to 80's music is "hip" and "cool." At least that is the story I am sticking with!
The year was 1984 and I was in high school when I heard a song that changed my life - “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by WHAM! It was happy, upbeat, and so much fun. Such a contradiction to the environment I was living in at the time. It made me forget about the pain I was being subjected to in my home life. It also helped me escape from my teenage struggles in accepting myself as being biracial and my constant effort of trying to make those around me laugh so they would look beyond the color of my skin, in addition, trying not to let people know about my home life.
Keep reading to find out how to show your love for George Michael and to support the effort to end AIDS!
Who could forget the iconic “Choose Life” t-shirt George Michael and WHAM! rocked in their “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” music video? After this song and video came out, I practically lived in my "Choose Life" t-shirts. I remember the very first day I wore a "Choose Life" t-shirt to school. About halfway through the day, I was called into the principal's office to discuss my choice of attire. The principal asked me why I would wear such a politically charged t-shirt? Clueless to what he was talking about, I informed him that this t-shirt is what the group WHAM! was wearing in their new music video - "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." He kept asking me if this had anything to do with abortion. Being a naive teenager at the time, I was like, why would this have anything to do with abortion? He thought I was taking a stance on the pro-life vs. pro-choice political debate. Um, no. Just a fan of WHAM! Back then, I wasn't as politically vocal as I am now as an adult.
I would imagine only die-hard WHAM! and George Michael fans actually know the history behind the meaning of the "Choose Life" slogan. Katharine Hammett, an English fashion designer who debuted in the 80's, designed oversized t-shirts with large block letter political slogans. Katharine thought that if you want to get your message out - what better way than printing it in giant letters on a t-shirt? "Choose Life" is actually about choosing life over nuclear world destruction. I read somewhere that Katharine's t-shirts were designed to be copied, with the sole aim of spreading political messages around the world. A portion of the sale from her political motivated t-shirts went to a designated charity.
Last Christmas, my heart broke when I received the news of George Michael's death. His millions of fans around the world could not have received worse news on a day that is supposed to be about celebration and gathering with family and friends. A day that George Michael wrote about with his song "Last Christmas" and the heartache he endured by being jilted by his ex-girlfriend. Every time I have heard the song since his death it brings tears to my eyes. This Christmas day will mark a year since his untimely death and I wanted to provide his fans with something positive to focus on and remember him on this special day.
Just a few days ago I read about a fundraising campaign that RED is doing in honor of George Michael and AIDS awareness/prevention. RED is a non-profit organization that partners with the world’s most iconic brands that contribute up to 50% of profits from (RED)-branded goods and services to the Global Fund.
RED is selling a "Choose Love" t-shirt a spin on the "Choose Life" slogan for $30 (US). Proceeds will benefit RED's fight to end AIDS.
What better way to enhance RED's campaign than to take it one step further and ask that all of his fans around the world purchase a shirt and wear it on Christmas day to remember our music icon? Not only would this expand the information on RED's charitable efforts but also give George Michael fans something to do to honor him and his charitable efforts on Christmas Day.
Step 1: Purchase Red's T-shirt by clicking HERE
Step 2: Wear your Choose Love t-shirt on Christmas day and post a picture to one or more of your social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) with #ChooseLoveGM and #GoRed.
Backup Option: If for some reason your t-shirt doesn't arrive in time for Christmas, please post a picture of yourself on your social media channels holding up a sign with #ChooseLoveGM and #DonatetoRED
Participation in this campaign is a win-win situation!
George Michael fans will be donating to a cause that was near and dear to George's heart - AIDS awareness and prevention - in addition to participating in a proactive effort for us all to collectively cope with the loss of this music icon.
A message from George Michael's sisters Melanie and Yioda can be found HERE.
Disclaimer: I am only doing this promotion because of my love for George Michael. I am not being compensated in any way. George Michael fan for life!!