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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

The stars pay tribute to Michael Jackson

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Memo 1

Michael Jackson was remembered yesterday at a public memorial amid a cast of the greatest African-American talent of our generation.

The Jackson family led Mariah Carey. Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Beyonce Knowles and Queen Latifah in remembrance of Michael’s life and achievements..

Michael's daughter, Paris, speaks of 'The best father in the world'

But perhaps the most heart-rending were the speech by his daughter, Paris, remembering him as ‘The best father in the world’.  Until now a virtual unknown, it is the first time that the Jackson children have been literally unveiled to the world.

Lionel Richie sang the gospel hymn ‘Jesus is Love’ and Queen Latifah spoke of a world united by the grief and loss of a true star.

“From Birmingham, Atlanta, to Birmingham, England, we are Missing Michael Jackson.”

Stevie Wonder followed this up with his hits ‘Never Dreamed You’d Leave’, and ‘They Won’t Go When I Go.’  The crowd, many in tears, gave a standing ovation.

The proceedings at the Staples Centre were presided over by Reverend Al Sharpton who spoke of Michael ‘Bringing Blacks, Whites and Asians together.’  It was broadcast live on national and international television and in a score of languages.

Momo 2

Michael Jackson was lain in a casket reportedly costing £15,000, made of solid bronze, lined with gold and blue velvet.  It was placed on a stage surrounded by floral tributes from the great and the good.  In front of this was a simple plaque that stated: ‘In Loving Memory of Michael Jackson, King of Pop 1958-2009’.

The BBC was heavily criticized for declining to spare two hours of it’s BBC2 schedule to cover the memorial.  The British media, in particular, the Guardian, have been somewhat sardonic in their choice of remarks, and there is a general feeling that the mainstream media have misjudged the mood of the public.  People wanted to grieve, and we should let them.  We must remember that the public knew him for over thirty years, most of us had grown up with him music, and we owe to him a lot of happy memories.

The city of Los Angeles fell silent as people sat at home and watched the memorial on TV.  LA talk show host Devyn Ashley said:  “I saw it all, was in my house sobbing my eyes out, especially at the end when the family spoke.”

Reverand Sharp gave his epitaph to the Jackson children, ‘There wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what he had to put up with.’

The memorial closed with the song 'We are the world'.

The memorial closed with the song 'We are the world'.

The atmosphere in the auditorium was peaceful, friendly and in a strange way celebratory.  I have no doubt that this is exactly how Michael would have wanted it when he said that his funeral would be ‘The show of shows.’

Perhaps it was.

Credits:  Many thanks to Queen Bee and the Hive of LA Talk Radio.  Thanks also to the Telegraph and Getty images.  The cheque is in the post guys.  What, they lost it?  Again?

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

July 8, 2009 at 6:55 am

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