Deaths | Diana Ross | Janet Jackson | Los Angeles | Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson Memorial Notes


Stage In loose order, some highlights from the service for Michael Jackson held today at L.A.'s Staples Center, which might very well go down in HIStory as the most-watched broadcast of all time. I thought it was more reserved and tasteful than it might have been:

 roadAlong with Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy Jones and Liza Minnelli, Diana Ross also bowed out of participating.

 roadThe entire highway was shut down to facilitate the transport of Jackson's body and the arrival of a fleet of A-listers. This was the largest public event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics.

Janet  roadJackson's brothers were wearing his trademark single gloves. Sister Janet cut a striking figure of grief alongside her parents.

 roadFans were not above shouting out, "I love you Michael!" and other things through any lulls in the program.

 roadCorey Feldman arrived dressed like his former friend, just like he did when he was an adolescent.

 roadMariah Carey performed an emotional (or overwrought, depending on your taste) version of "I'll Be There." Will she be able to get away with releasing this version as a single?

 roadJohn Mayer, who had nothing to do with Jackson, performed a mostly instrumental version of "Human Nature."


 roadJennifer Hudson belted out "Will You Be There," which ended with a haunting use of a recording of Jackson's own voice. This and Stevie Wonder's performance of "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" and "They Won't Go When I Go" might be among the program's artistic highlights.

 roadThe Rev. Al Sharpton's short eulogy proclaimed that Jackson had broken the color barrier, paving the way for Oprah Winfrey's and Barack Obama's success and said, "I want his children to know—wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with."

SafariScreenSnapz001  roadThe Rev. Bernice King—daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and an avowed foe of marriage equality—spoke alongside her brother Martin Luther King III at the memorial, focusing on the healing power of his music when her mother, Coretta Scott King, was in ill health.

SafariScreenSnapz002  roadGay-friendly Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), stating she represented the House in appearing and expressing her condolences and promoting a bill to recognize Michael Jackson's humanitarian contributions, strongly made the point that everyone in this country is innocent until proven guilty, an unusual reference to legal controversies that dogged Jackson.

SafariScreenSnapz003  roadFollowing an alternately raw, sad and funny remembrance by Brooke Shields, Jermaine Jackson delivered a surprisingly touching take on Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," which was covered by his brother in 1995.

 roadUsher offered up his version of the prophetic "Gone Too Soon."

 roadDirector and collaborator Kenny Ortega presented a (maudlin, if I may) performance of "We Are the World" from the This Is It comeback show as performed by the show's troupe. (A blonde, white female sang Michael Jackson's part from the original song.) As the song progressed, Smokey Robinson (who'd spoken of his respect and affection for Jackson), sister LaToya and other celebrities joined did his grieving children.

SafariScreenSnapz005  roadThe final number in the concert memorial was "Heal the World," complete with another stageful of children.

 roadThe moment everyone will be talking about: Jackson's emotional 11-year-old daughter closed the service by saying, "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," before burying her face in Aunt Janet's arms.

 roadLos Angeles is asking citizens to donate money to "help give Michael the world class memorial he deserves."

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Yes, there were excessively complimentary things said about him. No, he wasn't perfect. But it was a funeral. I actually found it in poor taste when the one woman (forgotten whom) started her speech by saying he had never been found guilty. Funerals are to help the living deal with their loss. At least this wasn't a grotesque spectacle, but I'm not sure they needed a huge event to help the family grieve.

    Elizabeth Taylor very rarely goes out in public, no matter what. She's not about to be seen weeping uncontrollably in public. Quincy Jones and MJ didn't get along. Liza was probably unwelcome because of her comments in Paris. And Diana Ross isn't going anywhere that isn't entirely about her.

    Brooke Shields gave the best speech, his daughter gave the best emotion. Funny thing is, I'd forgotten that Brooke and MJ were even friends, and her anecdotes seemed pretty dated. I wonder when she last saw him?

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 7, 2009 7:49:58 PM

  2. @ David Ehrenstein: That's entirely uncalled for. Really. People can say what they want about the media coverage, but your comment is just completely outside the lines of taste. The world would be lucky to see another person with half the heart and kindness that Michael Jackson had and shared with so many millions of people. He was not a criminal or a demon, but a gentle, if troubled man that loved life and peace, and his memory, as that of any good man, should be respected after his passing.

    And what did Bernice King ever do to you, you miserable cretin?

    Posted by: 7SK | Jul 7, 2009 7:51:19 PM

  3. What heart? You're delusional.

    Bernice King is one of the biggest homophobes breathing. She had Rick Warren speak at her father's church. She's split the King family -- the rest not beiung phobes in that they knew who REALLY planned the March on Washington.

    And I'm sure you DON'T

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 7, 2009 7:59:07 PM

  4. In what universe is that little girl even remotely biologically related to Michael Jackson?

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | Jul 7, 2009 9:12:37 PM

  5. @75K: In 2004, when the State of Georgia had a ballot measure to outlaw marriage equality, Bernice King marched in support of the ballot measure--in other words, she marched against us. She has been fairly outspoken, at least in Georgia, about her views that gay people should not be allowed to marry each other.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jul 7, 2009 9:22:48 PM

  6. re: Paris at the microphone--I felt a little uncomfortable watching all those Jackson Family adults hovering around her shoving the mic in her face saying something like "lean a little bit closer" to a pre-teen. Certainly there was a curiosity factor there to see what she'd have to say, but having so many aunts and uncles there pushing that mic closer to make sure the audio was captured just made me think "the apples didn't fall far from the tree!"

    Posted by: Daniel | Jul 7, 2009 9:23:57 PM

  7. As for "bridging the racial divide" ...he had his face altered to appear more Caucasian, and "had" white children... not exactly the proudest example.
    It's odd, but for the last couple of days I've felt the uncontrollable urge to go to Staples and buy some white-out.

    Posted by: NSFW | Jul 7, 2009 9:44:14 PM

  8. Who cares if the children weren't his biologically?

    Madonna, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Donna Mills, Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Mary Louise Parker all have adopted black children. So what if Michael's children are white.

    Also, it is likely that the children are not his biologically, it's not impossible for an African-American man to father children with a 'white' woman and have white looking children. That actually happens.

    Here's a picture of the actress Victoria Rowell, her daughter Maya and her son:

    Here's another picture with the actress Garcelle Beauvais, her husband, and their twin sons:

    There are only 12 genes that control what we think of as racial features.

    Posted by: nate | Jul 7, 2009 10:27:05 PM

  9. There is too many vile and vitriolic comments here, very sad. Most of which are not worth reading. A lot of unhappy people.
    I was not a big fan of Michael, but he was a musical genius, a great talent. Rest in Peace Michael.

    Posted by: Bob West | Jul 7, 2009 10:32:41 PM

  10. David Ehrenstein, your comments are what I would expect from a "creep". You need to shut your mouth.

    Posted by: fern | Jul 7, 2009 11:01:43 PM

  11. I'm sorry I can't take this anymore,

    To you hateful queens that's why we will NEVER see FULL EQUALITY in this country some of you idiots are just plain evil.

    BTW MJ is in the Guiness Book of World Records for giving the most to chariies.


    Not even Elton can match that. Or what about our wonderful Gay civil Rights Leaders and Gay Bloggers who go on and on complaining and not doing anything about our causes and or issues.
    And also Gay Entreprenuers who can have sex sites but not prevention donations and helping Gays who are not on the tipping point of life?

    So for all of your nastiness. Just remmeber when you're NOT given YOUR RIGHTS think about it and TRUTH BE TOLD....
    We cannot make a dent in voting against Obama in 2012 no matter what the fuck any of you say.
    Half of you didn't vote for him in the first place for many reasons whatever they may be and 21% of the queens went for McInsane just to vote against Obama.

    See where that shit got you!

    So some of us will suffer for the evils of others.

    Keep being hypocrites. You'll learn yet!

    Mike rest in peace!

    Posted by: DUPREE | Jul 8, 2009 12:24:29 AM

  12. Mariah already released her cover of "I'll Be There" as a single in 1992, which is probably why she sang it at the memorial.

    Posted by: Maureen | Jul 8, 2009 12:27:35 AM

  13. First, I thought it ironic to have Bernice King speak at a memorial for a man rumored to be gay.

    Second, it was exploitative to have his daughter at the podium.

    Third, MJ definitely would've chuckled at Crispy and David's comments.

    And last, DONNA MILLS?!

    Posted by: Sean | Jul 8, 2009 1:11:53 AM

  14. A tragic end to a tortured life. Child-molester or not, but Michael was one of us. Another gay American. Another twisted testament to homophobic oppression in America. His image was so unique, being gay seemed mundane. It was telling that that 3 letter word never made it out of the lips of any of the people there. Instead, they seemed to endlessly refer to the other 3 letter word...God.

    Posted by: drumstick | Jul 8, 2009 2:07:46 AM

  15. Can we please just get *over* Michael Jackson. Yeah, he was a great entertainer. Yeah, he was a troubled celebrity (how unusual is that?!) Can we please move on?

    Posted by: Joseph Singer | Jul 8, 2009 3:07:52 AM

  16. The real tragedy is that Jackson chose drugs over his kids, his fans and his career.

    People can wail and sing and praise all they want, at the end of the day all they had to show for all that talent and money was a junkie in a gold box.

    Posted by: Crixi Van Cheek | Jul 8, 2009 8:59:58 AM

  17. Thanks Matthew for the tip that Bernice King is a hater! I heard her speak in college (like 12 years ago) and got her book, which I've never read, signed by her to me. I'm going to do a little book burning this evening.

    Posted by: Dwight | Jul 8, 2009 10:07:37 AM

  18. I didn't know Bernice King was a homophobe. Sorry.

    And, to those that say MJ was gay...I'm not really sure. I don't think he was either. Asexual seems more likely to me than gay. Gay-ish, maybe, but somehow I don't really think he had a sexual appetite.

    Posted by: 7SK | Jul 8, 2009 10:39:45 AM

  19. Michaels Jacksons memorial was unbecoming of 'the king of pop" It was mostly creepy & racist. A bunch of 'who's that ' performed at his memorial. Shunned by his peers. Most speakers described him like a product for anti racism or popular music. The token 'whitey' described him like the human being he was, Brooke Shields.

    Posted by: Deirdre | Jul 8, 2009 10:59:08 AM

  20. Really enjoyed the memorial. I think all the good he did really outshines anything bad he was accused of doing. RIP

    Posted by: Name: | Jul 8, 2009 11:29:35 AM

  21. Mariah was pathetic. She only used her hand to TRY to hit notes she couldn't possibly achieve. She was dressed poorly, showing her tits like she was out for a party and up to her clit like she was trying to sell something. She made it a mockery.

    Posted by: Jeff | Jul 8, 2009 12:28:37 PM

  22. @PeterParker, we wouldn't have expected anything less from you and we certainly expect nothing more from you. In other words: STFU.

    BTW, as I chased the link to Jermaine's song, I came across this late-breaking but dismal news report:

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 8, 2009 1:17:09 PM

  23. This is a great blog but I was surprised at some of the comments here, admittedly, a minority of comments, that seemed quite vicious. I think those who are fed up of the media coverage of Jackson's death are not taking into account a number of issues: it's not just about the death of an entertainer. It's about the death of someone who many, many people feel was part of their lives, who provided a soundtrack to many people's lives. Also, in an age of splintered families and comminities Jacko, sadly, feels to many like a strange and curious cousin they once knew! He has been more a part of my life than my two cousins who I have not seen for about thirty years! That's sad, maybe, but the reality of our lives today. Don't hate Michael Jackson - try and think it through. Do some research, read all the angles, and see what you think then.

    Posted by: Judith Coyle | Aug 5, 2009 7:26:31 AM

  24. « 1 2

Post a comment


« «Towleroad Guide to the Tube #504« «