America paused to remember Michael Jackson, entertainer and humanitarian, today.
Family, friends, music and showbiz industry and fans gathered at the Staples Center, the venue in which Jackson was rehearsing his comeback concert.
The gold coffin of Jackson lay before the stage in front of his family.
At times it moved from Baptist Revival Concert, to pop concert, to civil rights rally.
Performers included Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer, Usher, Shaheen Jafargholi, and Jermaine Jackson.
Speakers included Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Martin Luther King III, Bernice A. King, director Kenny Ortega, Marlon Jackson and Motown king Berry Gordy who received a standing ovation with the words “I think he is simply the greatest entertainer who ever lived.”
Rev. Al Sharpton gave a stirring speech on Jackson’s spirit including telling his children “your daddy wasn’t strange, he had to deal with strange things.” A tearful Brooke Shields shared memories of being in the spotlight from a young age. “Both of us needed to be adults early on. But when we were together we were little kids.” Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said, “We understand the Constitution and we understand we are innocent until proven otherwise.” A resolution will be passed in Congress to recognise him as an American legend.
Sadly, Jackson’s daughterParis said, “Ever since I was born daddy has been the best father ever. I miss you so much.”
Inside the Staples Center both Seven and Nine had reporters on the phone providing early commentary to Sunrise and Today with Rahnee Safler and Peter Stefanovic respectively. All networks had to stretch and fill for at least 30 minutes while the service started late.
TEN picked up the CBS coverage and ABC had ABC (America) footage.
The event closed with a rendition of “We Are The World” and “Heal the World” by the performers who had been rehearsing Jackson’s comeback concerts, joined by the Memorial performers a children’s choir and the Jackson Family.
Michael Jackson 1958 – 2009.