On June 15, 2011, George Michael was set to perform at the fundraising ball hosted by American singer Alicia Keys and producer/musician Mark Ronson in support of the charity Keep a Child Alive.
The Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball is an annual fundraising extravaganza “where celebrity and philanthropy walk hand in hand. The evening celebrates the work of Keep a Child Alive (KCA) while raising money to provide treatment, care, nutrition and a future to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.” The annual Black Ball fundraising ball, where guests shell out £1,500 a seat, started in London in July 2008. Previous performers who lent their support to the cause included artists like Adele, Alicia Keys, Bono, Annie Lennox, David Bowie among others.
George Michael to Perform at the Black Ball
George Michael’s participation in what was billed as the “hottest charity music event” was announced in a press release issued on May 26, 2011.
Event host Alicia Keys expressed her admiration for George and excitement about his performance:
“We’ve wanted George Michael to be a part of the Black Ball UK since our first event,” said Keys. “George Michael’s work raising awareness and funds for those suffering with HIV has spanned three decades and I’m honoured that he has lent his voice to our KCA cause. His songs have built memories in people’s hearts, mine included, and I’m so excited he is going to join us this year. Just when we think it can’t get any better…It does! Get ready for a mind-blowing night!”
Below is the full press release:george-michael-joins-alicia-keys-mark-ronson-tinie-Keep-a-Child-…
George seemed excited, retweeting a fan’s post commending him about his participation.
Tooth Infection Derailed His Participation
Unfortunately, a nasty tooth infection prevented George from performing at the black ball gala.
In a series of tweets on June 13, 2011, he announced in his tongue-in-cheek humour that while he would love to sing with Alicia, he “got some kind of infection” in his lower jaw, which may not bode well for his participation at the black ball if the infection won’t clear up.
But speaking of work, have some bad news for UK fans I'm afraid— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 13, 2011
On the weekend, got some kind of infection in my lower jaw and the left side of my face now resembles a hairy football— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 13, 2011
I look like Marlon Brando ( I wish….) in the Godfather if they forgot to stuff the right cheek!— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 13, 2011
Anyway the point is I dont know if it will clear up in time for Wednesdays Black Ball Charity event with Alicia Keys…— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 13, 2011
Which would be terrible, I don't want to let down the charity, which is excellent, and I would love to sing with Alicia, shes wonderful….— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 13, 2011
I'll keep you posted for sure though….. xxx— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 13, 2011
On June 15, he tweeted that he’d be unable to perform at the Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball. With the infection not clearing up, he had to pull out of the event. Here were the tweets he posted:
Hi boyz n girls….bad news im afraid— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 15, 2011
This tooth ain't getting better in time for tonight, not enough to sing anyway….. 🙁— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 15, 2011
I'm really sorry folks. You watch, it'll be totally fine by tomorrow. Bloody typical.— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 15, 2011
I hope not too many of my lovelies managed to grab a ticket 🙁— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 15, 2011
Despite his being unable to perform at the event, he encouraged his fans, especially those who already got tickets, to go and support the event:
Of course I'd recommend going anyway, Alicia is great live, and @KeepaChildAlive is great charity to donate to.— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 15, 2011
With George unable to perform, Alicia instead sang George’s song “Freedom” in the finale together with Paloma Faith and Beth Ditto. In an article in Marie Clare magazine,
The show’s finale had its audience in rapture as Alicia took to the stage with Paloma Faith and Beth Ditto to sing an all female rendition of George Michael’s ‘Freedom’. George had been due to perform himself but had to pull out last minute because of a tooth infection. ‘We don’t need him – we can sing it better ourselves!’ Alicia cheered as the girls embraced and belted out the classic to an excited crowd.
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