Channeling his passion and energy to make a difference, George Michael fronted a documentary about HIV to coincide with World Aids Day in 1998, the year he publicly came out on CNN. The film, MTV Staying Alive, focused on the experiences of six young people from different countries who were either infected with or affected by the HIV virus.
The documentary won an Emmy Award and triggered the creation of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation.
When Michael passed away in 2016, MTV Staying Alive Foundation cited his contribution to efforts against HIV and how instrumental he was in the creation of the Foundation:
Here at the MTV Staying Alive Foundation we were devastated to hear about his death. George Michael was a huge supporter of our work and our very first contributor. He was deeply affected by the HIV epidemic, as his former partner died of an AIDS-related illness in 1995 – it was an issue that was very close to his heart.
George Michael hosted our 1998 International Emmy award-winning documentary about young people affected and infected with HIV, called ‘Staying Alive’ – a brave move at a time when HIV was still hugely stigmatised. His involvement not only encouraged many people to talk openly about the epidemic but also created a stepping stone for MTV Staying Alive. In fact, MTV Staying Alive would not be where it is today if it weren’t for George Michael.SOURCE: Why We Had Faith in George Michael
HIV/AIDS was one of the causes nearest to George’s heart. He dedicated the song “Jesus to a Child,” and the album, Older, that it appears on, to Anselmo Feleppa, who, Michael wrote in the album notes, “changed the way I look at my life.” Feleppa was a partner of Michael’s who died of AIDS-related illness in 1993.
With Michael’s support early on, MTV Staying Alive Foundation has grown to become one of the important organizations working to fight HIV/AIDS. Michael also was a passionate supporter of HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Watch the original MTV Staying Alive documentary hosted by George Michael:
- List of Charities George Michael Supported
- Desert Island Discs: George Michael Interview (2007)
- George Michael on Anselmo Feleppa
- Review of George Michael’s A Different Story
- George Michael’s Oprah Winfrey Show Interview (2004)