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Michael Jackson Funeral
The Staples Center In Los Angeles, CA ~ July 7th 2009
The emotional memorial for The King Of Pop, Michael Jackson started with Smokey Robinson reading dedications to MJ from his long time friend and label mate Diana Ross and South African civil right's leader Nelson Mandela. Surprisingly, Ross was not in the building for the funeral but expressed in her words how close they were and the love she had for him and his family. Those beautiful words were followed by a long moment of silence for MJ.
After a brief break, a choir came onto the stage and sang the gospel song "Soon And Very Soon (We Are Going To See The King)" as the Jackson brother's carried the golden casket of MJ down to the front of the stage. That moving moment was followed by a beautiful performance by Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz singing the Jackson Five hit, "I'll Be There". Queen Latifah then gave a moving speech about her memories of MJ and the Jackson Five as she grew up. She also recited a poem by Maya Angelou.
Not an eye in the house was dry when Lionel Richie came up on the stage and gave an emotional performance of his hit gospel song, "Jesus Is Love". Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson both wrote the inspirational words too "We Are The World" so he was deeply touched as they showed pictures of him and Michael Jackson together back in the day. The founder of Motown, Berry Gordy took the time to speak on the things that he most remebered about Michael and his family. He stated that "He had two personalities, when he was off stage he was shy and childlike but when he was on stage he was a master at what he did".
The audience was then graced with a video memorial of all Mike's greatest video moments and interview clips as well as his own personal thoughts. MJ's long time label mate Stevie Wonder then gave a very appropriate performance of his classic hit "Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer" but not before he stated that "This is a moment that I did not wish to see come". Soon after, close friend Ervin "Majic" Johnson and L.A. Laker's basketball player Kobe Bryant spoke some words of their personal memories of MJ. They also pointed out that the Guinness Book Of World Records gave praise to MJ for breaking the record for most contributions made to charities from a pop star.
The talented Jennifer Hudson also gave an emotional performance of the "Free Willy" soundtrack hit "Will You Be There". It was very moving with his dancers who were going to be on tour with him in London dancing in the background. The Reverend Al Sharpton did not hold his tongue when he spoke about his long time friend MJ. He let his kids know that "Ain't nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what he had to deal with". For that very true statement, he recieved a standing ovation from everyone.
John Meyer also graced the stage with his guitar and performed a beautiful instrumental of MJ's hit "Human Nature". Afterwords, good friend and ex-girlfriend, Brooke Shields gave a very somber account of her most memorable moments with Michael Jackson. Including the fact that his favorite song was "Smile" form Charlie Chaplin's Movie "Modern Times". Appropriately Jermaine Jackson of course had a chance to pay a special tribute too his little brother by singing the emotional song while holding back tears.
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Martin Luther King III and his sister Bernice King also came up to the stage and told the world of how MJ came to the hospital when their mother, Coretta Scott King, was on her death bed and gave her some great words of encouragement. Followed by Congress Woman, Sheila Jackson Lee who referred to Michael Jackson as a "Samaritan who would help anyone, anywhere no matter what it took all around the world".
The talented Usher Raymond gave his vocal tribute by performing the Michael Jackson song "Gone To Soon" which I honestly think is the best song to perform in memory of MJ. Mike originally wrote the song for Ryan White, a kid who died from AID's in the late 80's. He is honestly gone to soon. Usher could hardly hold back his tears as he finished the song and was greatly embraced by the Jackson siblings. Usher really showed how one man can touch you and inspire you so deeply. Smokey Robinson followed by telling Mike "I love you my brother and I am proud to have had the chance to know you and work with you".
Britain's Got Talent 2009 contestant, Shaheen Jafargholi moved the audience with his tribute by singing the Jackson Five hit "Who's Loving You". He was scheduled to also perform in London with Michael. One of the most emotional highlights of the memorial was when Kenny Ortega, the director of "High School Musical" , introduced the performers of the "This Is It Tour" and they performed some of the songs that MJ inspired us most with, "We Are The World" and "Heal The World". Ortega was going to be the director for the tour. His kids were on stage as well as his whole family and all the guest and speakers of the event. It was very touching and heart-wrenching to watch.
The Jackson sibling's then spoke emotional words about their brother and his legacy to them. Marlon was visibly upset as he approached the mic. He talked about all the things MJ had to endure and he stated that "Maybe now Michael, they will leave you alone". Followed by an emotional dedication to MJ from his beautiful 11 year old daughter Paris stating that "Every since I was born, daddy was the best father you could ever imagine and I just wanted to say that I love him so much". The brother's then proceeded to carry the golden casket out of the auditorium while they played a beautiful instrumental of "Man In The Mirror". They closed the memorial with a prayer in tribute to Michael Jackosn and his family from the Reverend Lucios W. Smith
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