MJ Memorial: Music & Mourning
Thousands of fans – chosen by lottery from 1.6 million who wanted seats – came to Michael Jackson’s memorial in Los Angeles today dressed in different costumes the King Of Pop himself wore over the years. They swayed side to side, they laughed and they cried as they watched various members of Michael Jackson’s family and circle of friends – including plenty of celebrities – pay their final respects.
The memorial was broadcast live around the world from the Staples Center, and included some of recent history’s biggest musical stars performing versions of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits.
Pop superstars Mariah Carey opened the ceremony by singing I’ll Be There, which was a hit both for herself and for the Jackson 5 – the group Michael Jackson started out with, along with four of his brothers.
Actress Brooke Shields, who had been friends with Michael Jackson since she was 13 years old, told the audience that she remembered asking him, “What’s with the glove?” She also said she used to tease him because she had been working in show business since she was 11 months old, while Michael Jackson only started when he was five years old. “I used to call him a slacker,” she laughed.
Retired NBA player Magic Johnson laughed as he told the story of him and Michael Jackson digging into a bucket of KFC at the pop star’s home. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers stood behind the former basketball star as he spoke.
Jermaine Jackson sang a version of his famous brother’s favorite song, Smile, which was written by old-time comedian Charlie Chaplin. Jermaine and the rest of the Jackson brothers were all dressed identically in dark suits, yellow ties and white sequined gloves. Another brother, Marlon Jackson, talked a bit about how hard Michael Jackson’s life really was, and said it wasn’t just about fame and fortune, glitter and glamour and superstardom: “Being judged, ridiculed – how much pain can one take?” he asked.
When the ceremony was winding down, one of Michael Jackson’s rarely-seen-in-public children – his daughter, 11-year-old Paris Michael Jackson – said some sad words about her dad while choking back tears: “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much.” When she finished she started crying, and her aunt, Janet Jackson, hugged her close.
Other stars, family members and friends spoke about Michael Jackson’s influence on them and on the entire world, saying he paved the way for other black performers and entertainers to go on to greatness.
Other performers included Stevie Wonder, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Lionel Ritchie. All were there to say goodbye to a talent the world may never see the likes of again – Michael Jackson.