Michael Jackson -- "Gone Too Soon"
The Michael Jackson memorial did something that the media probably has failed to do in the last 25 years of the King of Pop's life -- it humanized him.
Thousands of mourners pay their final respects to the greatest entertainer that ever lived -- Michael Jackson. Civil right leaders, sports figures, music artists all came together Tuesday (July 7) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and eulogized a man who has touched the world a million times over. "We come together to 'Remember the Time'," the Reverend Lucious Smith told mourners at the beginning of what would become a tasteful and emotional ceremony. Motown Records dignitaries Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, Jr. recall their moments of meeting a young 10-year-old Michael and their wonderment of a little boy who had so much talent. When Smokey heard Michael out-sang a song that he wrote, "Who's Loving You," he thought: "This boy cannot possibly be 10 years old. This song is about somebody who had somebody who loved him, but they treated him bad . . . and now they are paying the price . . . how could he possibly know these things? I quickly went over to him because I wanted to see his birth certificate." He concluded, "The world will never, ever forget Michael Jackson."
Other celebrities like Brooke Shields, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Kenny Oretega and others shared funny anecdotes and remembered Michael for his innocence, talent, generosity and love for life. Reverend Al Sharpton spoke of the singer's racial-barrier busting achievements and addressed Michael's three surviving children: "There wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with."
Not only did The Michael Jackson memorial featured heartfelt speeches from dignitaries but also emotional performances from several music artists. Mariah Carey (with Trey Lorenz) led the list of performers, singing her rendition of the Jackson 5's classic song, "I'll Be There." Another teary-eyed moment came from Stevie Wonder who sung a medley that was apropos for such an occasion -- his 1971 ballad "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" and a lesser-known 1974 song, "They Won't Go When I Go."
**True Confession: I wept during Stevie's performance. God Bless Stevie Wonder**
(Click HERE for pictures from the Michael Jackson Memorial)
As the day continued, the memorial featured several heart-tugging performances. Lionel Richie sung the spiritual "Jesus Is Love," a very pregnant Jennifer Hudson performed "Will You Be There" and John Mayer strummed his guitar to recreate "Human Nature." Two musical centerpieces of the day: Usher getting choked up while singing "Gone Too Soon" as he looked at Michael's casket; and Jermaine Jackson performing Michael's favorite song, "Smile," a tune written by Charlie Chaplin for his 1936 film Modern Times. The finale featured the London cast of Michael's This Is It Tour as well as the Jackson Family as they collectively sang, "We Are the World" and "Heal the World," respectively.
The memorial ended with Michael's 11-year-old daughter, Paris Michael Katherine, telling mourners, "Daddy has been the best father you can imagine." Paris's lasting comments for once humanized Michael. He wasn't a freak, he wasn't this so-called pervert, he wasn't this reclusive entertainer hiding at Neverland Ranch.
Michael Jackson was actually . . . a doting father. Go figure?