MJ wanted to promote peace on “Beat It” video
Michael Jackson famously played the peacemaker on the “Beat It” music video when he intervened in a knife fight with a dance. According to the video director Bob Girald, Michael came up with the idea to cast the rivaling gangs Crips & Bloods on the video.
In a recent interview with Boards published on Michael's website, Girald revealed that he proposed the idea of two men engaging in a switchblade knife fight with their hands tied together, a scene inspired by a true story he heard in his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey. Michael sat well with the idea and convinced the LAPD to allow Crips & Bloods to the video shoot as a way of promoting peace.
“Michael liked my idea and decided he was going to include the Crips and Bloods, which I thought was insane. If you see the video, you'll see guys that look like the real deal because they are the real deal,” Girald said of the gang members, who can be seen surrounding and watching MJ's Choreography dancers because they couldn't dance themselves.
Girald added: “It was Michael. He went out and he got 'em through, I guess, the LAPD's gang squad and he convinced them that, with enough police presence, this would be a smart and charitable thing to do; get them there to like each other and hang with each other for two days doing the video. I didn't like the idea because it was hard enough to direct actors and dancers, let alone hoods.”