Jade Goody, whom most Indians would remember as the British woman who had racially bullied Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on the British reality Tv show Big Brother, passed away in her sleep on the morning of 22nd March 2009.
Jade Goody’s life is one story of struggle, success and a battle. She has lived a very public life. As Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown puts it, Goody was “a courageous woman both in life and death”.
Jade Goody had very humble beginnings, growing up in a poverty-stricken family, with a drug addict father. She worked as a dental assistant before she appeared on the British reality TV show Big Brother in 2002, at the age of 21, after which she shot to fame, albeit for the wrong reasons. She was mocked for her weight, her big mouth and her display of lack of general knowledge on the show.
However all this got her enough attention and although she did not win the show, she made millions through television appearances, magazines, launch of her autobiography – Jade: My Autobiography - and perfume named Shh..
It was on the Celebrity Big Brother show in 2007, that Goody sparked a worldwide racial controversy when she ill-treated her housemate Shilpa Shetty. Jade had insulted Shilpa Shetty for her Indian cooking, her accent and referred to her as “Shilpa Poppadom” among other things. This left the Indians seething and hurt. However, Shilpa Shetty and Jade Goody reconciled later after the show ended. Shilpa Shetty is deeply saddened by the death of her friend. She had also gone to London to meet Jade Goody but was not allowed to, as her condition deteriorated.
Throughout her celebrity life since 2002, Jade Goody managed to raise just over £550 for charity towards the NSPCC (The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children http://www.justgiving.com/jadegoody/NSPCC). She also visited India on the invitation of the Indian Tourism Office, participating in various charity programmes. She was invited to participate in the Indian version of Big Boss, which she accepted. However, two days into the show, she received a phone call from her doctor, informing her that she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. These personal moments were captured on camera and were repeated worldwide, though not in India. Jade immediately withdrew from the show and flew back to London , where she was told that she had only a few months to live.
Then started Jade Goody’s battle against cancer and her plans to secure her children’s future. She allowed TV channels to film the last few days of her life for huge sums of money. But one cannot blame her. As a mother of two children, she wanted to make sure that her children did not have to endure the poverty-stricken, drug-addicted life that she did.
Apart from being ranked 25 on the list of the most influential people by Heat magazine, Jade is credited with spreading awareness on cervical cancer and the importance of the screening tests. Bald and frail Jade Goody, in her last days, was an icon of strength and endurance to billions of women the world over.
It is true that the good that people do is buried with them , while their evil remains alive forever. A close look at Jade Goody’s life would show that she was not a bad woman (or other insults that youtube users have left on her videos), rather, she was a loving mother and a shrewd businesswoman – a perfect and difficult combination in a woman.