After Mariah Carey sang him “Happy Birthday” like Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali whispered this to her.
Throughout his life, Muhammad Ali influenced countless people, including many other public figures who excelled in their respective fields. Mariah Carey, the Grammy-winning artist, is among them.
For decades, Mariah Carey looked up to Muhammad Ali.
In her 2020 memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey, Carey discussed her friendship with the heavyweight champion.
“I’ve admired Mr. Ali since I was a child,” she exclaimed. “He was one of the few people who brought my fractured family together. We’d all crowd around him if he was on TV; we all decided Muhammad Ali was undeniably the Greatest.”
She continued, “He was a huge presence to me, like Michael Jackson-status big.”
Mariah Carey wanted to sing “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy in the style of Marilyn Monroe.
Ali’s 60th birthday was commemorated in 2002 with a CBS television special. The Champ gave Carey the chance to perform in front of him.
She recalled, “I was asked to close the show with the ‘Happy Birthday’ album.” “I did a little rearrangement of the classic and sang soft and breathy at the end, inspired by Marilyn’s popular singing to President Kennedy.”
She continued, “Of course, I was honoured to have the opportunity.” “However, I d not realize my singing to an icon, inspired by another icon, might have been a bit improper. You see, I was dressed in a simple icy-pink-silk short slip dress, and I did a few kitschy winks and shimmies during my performance. I was thinking, of course, ‘Everyone is in on the reference.’”
“What I didn’t take into consideration was that Mr. Ali was Muslim, as were his wife and daughters. I also didn’t know, at the time, that Muslim women dress and act modestly,” she admitted. “As part of the performance, I was to walk down the stairs and sing right in front of him. I must have appeared to literally be… This story is a short summary. Hope you enjoyed.