Michael Jackson’s eldest children spread a simple – yet powerful – message at Sunday’s Grammy Awards while accepting their late father’s Lifetime Achievement Award midway through the live telecast.
“Through all his songs, [our father’s] message was simple: love,” Prince Michael, 12, said on stage at the Staples Center, surrounded by his cousins and sister Paris, 11. “We will continue to spread his message and help the world.”
In an emotional moment during a performance-heavy telecast, the late King of Pop’s children thanked fans for their support after Jackson’s death on June 25. “We are proud to accept this award on behalf of our father,” Prince Michael said. “We’d like to thank God for watching over us for these past seven months and our grandma and grandpa for their love and support. We would also like to thank the fans; our father loved you so much because you were always there for him.”
His sister, Paris, who gave a touching tribute to her father at his memorial service over the summer, told the crowd, “Daddy was going to perform this here [last year],” then said, “Thank you. We love you, Daddy.”
Moments earlier, Lionel Richie introduced the segment, which began with a powerhouse collaboration, featuring Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion and Smokey Robinson, who sang Jackson’s “Earth Song” backed by images of nature and featuring vocals recorded by Jackson. The segment was also filmed in 3-D, with glasses available for viewers to pick up from Target before the show.
“In the song we’re about to hear, Michael beautifully expresses the need for our humanity to be in greater harmony with Mother Earth,” Richie said.
PHOTOS: Michael Jackson’s Life in Grammys
“Earth Song” was scheduled to be included in Jackson’s July 2009 comeback concerts in London, and part of the video clip was included in the recent documentary, This Is It. It also marks the first time an awards show featured a 3-D performance.
Before Sunday’s Grammy Awards, the late singer’s father, Joe Jackson, expressed pride that his grandchildren would be at the ceremony, representing the family.
“I am very proud that my son, Michael Jackson, is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Grammys,” he said. “I am very proud of my grandchildren. Katherine and I are the ones that [have] initiated their participation.”
See all the Grammy winners and nominees here.