In 1984, Jackson was approached to donate "Beat It" as backing music for a commercial on drunk driving. Michael agreed and it was arranged for the singer to be awarded with an honor from the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Prior to collecting the award, President Reagan sent Jackson a telegram, which read:
"Your deep faith in God and adherence to traditional values are an inspiration to all of us. You've gained quite a number of fans along the road since "I Want You Back" and Nancy and I are among them. Keep up the good work, Michael. We're very happy for you.”
The presentation took place on May 14, 1984, at the White House. Upon reaching the podium, Reagan remarked, "I hope you'll forgive me, but we have quite a few young folks in the White House who all wanted me to give you the same message. They said to tell Michael, "Please give some TLC to the PYTs." A reference to Jackson's Grammy Award-nominated song, "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)". Reagan also stated that Jackson "is proof of what a person can accomplish through a lifestyle free of alcohol or drug abuse. People young and old respect that. And if Americans follow his example, then we can face up to the problem of drinking and driving, and we can, in Michael's words, beat it."
In April 1990, Jackson returned to the White House to be recognized as "Artist of the Decade" by President George H. W. Bush.
Two years later, on May 1, 1992, President Bush presented Jackson with an award acknowledging him as "a point of light ambassador". Jackson received the award in recognition for his efforts in inviting disadvantaged children to his Neverland Ranch. Michael Jackson was the only entertainer to receive the award.