Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jackson siblings speak from the heart

Marlon Jackson had a very difficult time talking about his brother. He shared a memory about being able to recognize Michael no matter what he looked like. He talked about his brother being judged, ridiculed and in pain, saying that now, maybe people will leave him alone.

Paris, Michael's daughter, sobbed as she said, "I just wanted to say ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine, and I just wanted to say I love him so much."

We Are (and Heal) the World

There's only one way to end a memorial like this:

We Are the World.

The performance began with a number of people who were involved in his upcoming concert series, "This Is It." However, the other performers quickly spilled out and joined in...

As you can imagine, the performance was stirring, emotional, and incredible.

Michael's family jumped on the stage and joined in...Janet was singing...his brother's were singing...and his children were singing as well. It was just great.

Even more people spilled onto the stage for "Heal the World"...

Quite a show, huh? Fitting for a king...

A child sings...

Young Britain's Got Talent finalist Shaheen Jafargholi performed "Who's Loving You," in a VERY young-Michael style. I'd guess he's about 11 years old? His voice is awesome!

He thanked Michael Jackson and told everyone he loved him.

Michael had invited Shaheen to join him at his London concerts.

Robinson: He Will Live Forever

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Smokey Robinson talked about his song, "I Want You Back" that Jackson covered when he was just 10 years old...this is the song that Barry Gordy discussed earlier in the evening.

Robinson said he had many blessing in his life...and one was knowing the Jackson family. Robinson added that he was lucky to see the greatest entertainer of all-time.
Robinson said Jackson will live forever in heaven and on earth.

Usher: Gone Too Soon

Usher broke down while ending his beautiful version of "Gone Too Soon," Michael's song dedicated to Ryan White, a young AIDS patient. This song is from 1993.

I thought he was trying to hide his emotions with his dark glasses, but he took them off at the moment he was most emotional.

MLK's Family: He Was a Shining Light

MLK III shared some of his father's thoughts and discussed how Michael followed those thoughts.

MLK Jr.'s daughter said Michael demonstrated God's love in an effort to bring the world together. She said Michael called her mother Coretta Scott King during her final days. She said Michael called her America's true royal family. She said her mother was unable to speak, but she lit up on the inside....a touching story.

Smile Though Your Heart is Aching

Jermaine Jackson said that Michael always liked this song, and when he tried to sing it to Today Show crews earlier, he was unable to get through it without crying.

I love the words to this song.

All the brothers are wearing matching ties, and I think the sequined glove is a nice touch. I know the Jacksons are professional performers but I cannot imagine ever having to sing at my brother's funeral. That may have to be one of the hardest things he'll ever do, although he seems extremely composed.

Shields: We Need to Smile

Longtime Jackson friend Brooke Shields took the stage after John Mayer. She was extremely emotional when she began her speech.

Shields said she and Michael had a bond. She often teased Jackson about how late in life he started in entertainment. He started a 5...she started at 11 months. Shields said when they were together, they were two little kids having fun.

Shields talked about how much Jackson loved to laugh. She said his laugh was the purest of anyone she had ever known. Shield said that people from the outside may have thought they were odd..but they didn't find it odd at all.

Here comes random guy

Everyone I've talked to has wondered what in the world John Mayer was doing at the memorial... here it is: he's performing Jackson's "Human Nature." Not singing, just playing it on the guitar with backup singers while images of Michael and his fans play in the background.

I'll reserve my opinion on this. Talk amongst yourselves.

Sharpton: He Taught The World to Love

The Reverand Al took the stage and I prepared for the long haul...I figure he'll take all day. We'll see, huh?

Sharpton gave some great background on the Jackson family and the world he grew up in. Sharpton stressed how Jackson was able to change the racial landscape and pave the way for so many others. Sharpton said Jackson made us "heal the world and feed the hungry."

Sharpton said Michael's music made whites and blacks comfortable to watch Oprah...comfortable to watch Tiger Woods play golf...and comfortable to vote for a black president. Sharpton's speech is very stirring...

Rev. Sharpton brought down the house when he said, "there wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what he had to deal with." His three children clapped along as the crowd stood and cheered.

I was wrong about Sharpton...great stuff.

Will you be there?

Now this is the Jackson song of my childhood: Will You Be There.

Never realized until recently that the Free Willy movie was a metaphor for his life -- a star trapped who wants a child to free him.

Not so sure about the dancers/actors in the back doing a really weird Broadway thing. Definitely not my favorite moment of the service.

Does anyone know where that audio of Michael speaking is from?

Johnson: He Made Me Better

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson discussed Jackson as a humanitarian. It was obvious that Johnson was extremely emotional. You may remember Johnson appeared in Michael's "Remember the Time" music video.

Johnson discussed his relationship with the Jackson family and how great a family they were. Interestingly, Johnson said Jackson made him a better basketball player because of the way he performed.

Johnson shared a hilarious story about visiting Michael's home and eating KFC chicken with him on the floor. Great ad for KFC, huh?

Stevie Wonder: God Needed Him

Stevie Wonder said he's at peace with Michael's death because God must have needed him more than people in this world. Words seemed to be off the cuff, nothing prepared.

He's playing an extremely sorrowful version of "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer."

I recently saw Stevie Wonder in concert and don't remember him playing that song.

He was by far the most inspirational musician I've ever seen. Talk about a man with a heart of gold who wants to heal the world -- that's Stevie.

Gordy: He's The Greatest Entertainer Who Ever Lived

Mowtown Founder Berry Gordy just discussed how he met Michael and what Jackson meant to music. Jackson often discussed his love for Gordy...and how Gordy allowed him to grow creatively throughout the years.

Gordy just talked about a Smokey Robinson song that Michael remade and said Jackson did it better. Gordy said when he told Robinson "I think Michael got you on that one," Robinson responded by saying, "I think so too."

It looks like the Jackson brothers all have on a traditional Michael Jackson white glove. Would they do it up any other way?

Gordy discussed the Mowtown 25th show in which Jackson debuted the moonwalk. Gordy said he was shocked when he saw the move. He called it "magic." Gordy said Michael went into orbit and never came back.

Gordy ended by saying Jackson was too big for the title, "King of Pop." Gordy called him the greatest entertainer who ever lived....that was followed by a standing ovation. Gordy thanked Michael for the joy and love...and said he'd live in his heart forever. Very touching.

Jesus is Love

LOVE that Lionel Richie just sang a Gospel song instead of "performing" something. Makes it less like an awards show and more like a funeral. I've never heard that song before. Beautiful.

Message from Latifah and Angelou

The format really feels like an awards show -- probably because I haven't seen a memorial service that looks like this. The setup is really amazing!

A great, heartfelt message from Queen Latifah. She read a poem from Maya Angelou...very nice. The poem discussed his accomplishments, what he meant to different people, and all the places he's being remembered today. The poem was entitled, "We Had Him."
Lionel Richie is now on the stage...

Mariah sings "I'll Be There"

This is probably my favorite Jackson song, and every time I hear the Mariah Carey version, I'm disappointed. I like Michael's version so much better. But this was really touching in my opinion. It was obviously performed live, which we don't seem to get very often. It wasn't perfect, but that's what made it meaningful.

I don't mean to sound like a huge fool, but I really don't know who the male performer is... Trey Lorenz? Wikipedia says he performed this song with Mariah as a backup singer in 1992.

Service Underway

Smoky Robinson is now reading quotes from people who couldn't make it.

Do you think Jackson deserved this sendoff?

UPDATE: I guess that was a false alarm? Analysts are now discussing whether this could be the most watched thing ever put on TV.

Networks Stalling; Performance Rumors

As you can probably see, all the major networks are having to stall because of the delay in the memorial. What station are you watching?

For me, it's hard not to stick with CNN for the big story.

CBS also seems to be doing a great job.

Jackson's will

I just heard 40% to Katherine, 40% to the kids, and 20% to charity. What do you think about that?

Also, apparently the LA mayor had a web site set up so that people can contribute to the ceremony. It's costing about $4 million.


Memorial to Begin Shortly

Jackson's casket is now at the Staples Center. Moments ago, an announcer asked the audience to take their seats because the service would begin shortly.

Any guesses on how long this memorial will last? I'm thinking 2 hours.

Jackson Body Leaves Funeral Home

Michael Jackson's casket has been loaded into a hearse to be driven to the Staples Center. It was rumored that Jackson would have the same rare $25,000 casket James Brown was buried in. The top of the casket appears to be covered in red roses.

There are now reports the memorial at the Staples Center won't get started until 12:30pm due to the delay in the private ceremony.
The images of everyone outside the Staples Center are stunning. It's a very impressive setup.

Jackson Private Memorial Begins

The family has arrived at the cemetary for the private service. It looks like it's running about 30 minutes behind. We'll see what this means for the rest of the afternoon.

According to a number of reports, Michael's body will be taken to the Staples Center following the private service.
Today's the big day...

Meredith Viera gives us an idea of what we can expect for the service at noon (Central Time), although I have a feeling we have no idea what to expect.