A celebrity death is devastating enough, but when it falls on Christmas, as George Michael's did this year, it feels like too much to bear. But if there's one thing I learned from 2016, it's how to find even the tiniest pinprick of light in the darkness, so let's talk about something that might help you through this trying time — when does the George Michael documentary, Freedom, premiere? Fans will be able to see the now-posthumous project in March 2017, just a few short months after the loss of the iconic singer at just 53 years old.
Before his tragic death on Dec. 25, the last thing George Michael had posted on Instagram was a promotion of Freedom seven weeks prior, and the caption informed fans of the progress already being made:
According to The Sun, the documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, George Michael's second studio album, which represented a substantial change of tone for the still newly-solo artist. A Rolling Stone review at the time described the album's more serious nature with the line, "This time around, George Michael has begun to think that he should provide something to his fans beyond fun and games."
Unfortunately, fans didn't necessarily agree: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 dropped in June 1990 to a lukewarm reception and mixed reviews in the United States, a disappointing performance after the smash-hit that was Faith. As reported by The New York Times, Michael sued his record label, Sony, in 1994, claiming that his contract was unfair and that the label didn't promote Listen Without Prejudice enough. Sony executives denied the claims and the judge found that Michael's contract was "reasonable and fair" and also said, "I am satisfied that there was no such deliberate policy decision by Sony as George Michael alleges." According to The Guardian's obituary, Michael scrapped the planned followup Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2 after the lawsuit.
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 did have songs on it that would go on to become huge hits, of course, like "Freedom '90," which featured 1990s legends like Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz and Linda Evangelista, all of whom will be reuniting for the documentary to talk about their involvement in the video, according to a Channel 4 press release. But the big names associated with Freedom don't stop there; the documentary will also include interviews with famous fans of the late star and this album in particular, like Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Tony Bennett, Liam Gallagher, James Corden, and Ricky Gervais.
And with the premiere of Freedom slated for March 2017, George Michael's team has revealed that they'll also be re-releasing Listen Without Prejudice to coincide with the documentary, so fans will quite literally get a second chance to immerse themselves in the moment with George Michael, watching the way he worked behind-the-scenes on the album as he struggled to be taken more seriously by both his audience and his record label. It's heartbreaking timing, but in a lot of ways, I can't think of a project that might better help fans grappling with the late singer's death.
Listen Without Prejudice was the moment when George Michael seemed to really find his voice as an artist, and it's such a gift that a tell-all documentary depicting that very moment is already on the horizon. Nothing can make the pain of his death go away, but at least this silver lining is something to look forward to.