Michael Jackson Memorial : The Best Ever

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The Michael Jackson Memorial is about to begin. The musical tributes will be great and there's suspense as to who will sing when, the family has not provided a schedule.

If you're watching, here's a thread to weigh in the memorial and the music. You can view the photos of the service below in larger format here.

Update: 11:34 am (MT): "We are going to see the King. No More Dying". They bring the gleaming casket in. It's topped with flowers and really quite beautiful. The crowd rises and claps. It's very tastefully done so far. updates below.

Pastor Lucius Smith addresses the audience. Great suit and tie combo. Very low-key and again, tasteful.(Watch here.)

Mariah Carey is up, "I'll Be There."

Queen Latifah reads a Maya Angelou poem.

Lionel Richie sings a religious song.

11:54 a.m. Berry Gordy (Watch here.) Reminisces about Michael and Motown. He's excellent, both serious and humorous.

The crowd is so respectful. This may be the most tasteful, while not being morose, memorial we've seen televised to date.

12:05 pm. They turn to Michael's music. Beautiful montage and clips of him as a child and his performances.

Stevie Wonder sings a beautiful song (Watch here.) Okay, if you aren't watching today, it's definitely worth watching the replay tonight in it's entirety. It's a beautiful memorial service.

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson

The family:

Jennifer Hudson (watch here)

During the chorus of Jennifer Hudson's song, they overlay it with Michael speaking in a soft voice. Very moving.

Leave it to Al Sharpton to ruin the mood and start shouting. He sounds like he's at one of his rallies. But he's passionate. And he says the line that needed to be said, speaking to his children: There's nothing strange about your father. It was people's reactions to him that were strange." Total change in atmosphere. They show the kids who like everyone else, stands and claps. Adorable kids, particularly the youngest, whom they call "Blanket." When Sharpton finishes, the males in the family go to embrace him. So Sharpton was good, he energized the crowd and really defended Michael.

John Mayer plays an instrumental and also gets hugs from each Jackson family male:

Brooke Shields is very emotional, in a good way, and looks gorgeous. (Watch here.)

Jermaine Jackson sings (watch here):

Here are the flowers:

And the best pic so far, here's what the audience is looking at:

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee talks about the presumption of innocence. Usher sings "Gone Too Soon."

A rare shot of Michael's children.

A child performer, Shaheen, is an incredible talent. (Watch here.)

And now, the final musical tribute, with a variety of guests singing, "We Are the World, Heal the World", each singing a line or two. His children and dozens take the stage. (Watch here.)

You can watch his daughter Paris' tear-filled goodbye to Michael here.

You can view larger versions of the photos above here. Or watch below:

Simply fabulous. I am so glad I stayed to watch the whole thing. I can't recommend enough that you watch the whole thing yourselves. It's so moving and beautiful, a fabulous tribute to a man, who to hundreds of millions of people, really was "the greatest entertainer of the world."

Pastor Lucious Smith closes (watch here.)

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson. And thank you to whoever put this Memorial together, and to the Jackson family for allowing all of us to share in it. And, finally, Long Live Michael Jackson. He really will be with us forever.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Mariah Carey (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by indy in sc on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 12:49:10 PM EST
    was good, but the gentleman who sang with her was simply awesome.

    Thanks -- I missed it today (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:37:43 PM EST
    but found it on youtube and have to agree about both singers and their wonderful version of the song.

    so far (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by sher on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 01:15:20 PM EST
    beautiful, elegant memorial

    Yes, with graceful dignity. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:02:20 PM EST
    jennifer hudson (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by sher on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 01:22:25 PM EST
    looks beautiful and sounds good

    Al Sharpton's e (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by sher on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 01:36:48 PM EST
    eulogy is rooted in the African American tradition and whether it sounded discordant will probably have cultural roots....John Mayer's acoustic guitar version of "Human Nature" should be released for purchase

    I changed my mind (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 01:46:01 PM EST
    as he continued speaking and deleted my "discordant" remark. He wasn't discordant by the end. He was unifying.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:56:05 PM EST
    as I shared the initial reaction, but then, Sharpton doesn't know how to not yell.  And by the end, he was the one who spoke to the children, who needed to hear words of comfort.  The words from the middle child, Paris, were so sad and full of hurt.  They lost a father, and that outweighs all those who lost a friend, an entertainer, etc.

    Jermaine's rendition of "Smile" (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 01:54:29 PM EST
    was quite moving. It is a great, if melancholy, song. Seems very appropriate to today's ceremony.

    It was (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by nycstray on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:07:38 PM EST
    especially following Brooke's emotion and sweet words.

    It was moving (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:56:51 PM EST
    in its words, even without the introduction that told us that it was Jackson's favorite song.

    I thought Germaine sang (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:39:59 PM EST
    the song beautifully.  I was listening thru the Internet at work.  If I didn't know it was Germaine, I would have guessed it to be one of Michael's brothers, as the voices have a lot of similarity.

    I happened to turn on the tv when Brooke Shields (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:36:45 PM EST
    was going up to speak. She was riveting, genuine, and so clearly moved. She made Michael Jackson a real person, not some distant celeb aka freak.

    She said "Smile" was Michael's favorite song.

    Then Germaine came on to sing it.

    Well, I was already choking up, but the song did it.  

    And I'm not even a big Jackson fan, but Brooke made me care about him as a person, one who lost his childhood too soon, then lost his life too soon.


    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Jen M on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:12:43 PM EST
    When I turned to watch it Brooke Shields was speaking. She gave such a wonderful portrait of a great friendship. It was a glimpse at Michel Jackson as a whimsical, humorous fellow and a good friend.

    glad you wrote this (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Lil on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:00:03 PM EST
    Before I happened upon this post, I was a little surprised at some blog's seeming disdain for the "big deal" being made out of today's memorial, almost a mocking tone.  I was thinking, let people have their day of mourning. I liked MJ; I bought Thriller and Bad in their hayday, but I wasn't a die hard (no pun intended, really), but I can surely see the country's need to have this event and to have it covered. I don't know, it seemed a little elitist or something to mock it for being over the top. So what if we are over the top when mourning a musical icon. So I really appreciated your "if you can't beat em, join 'em" attitude about this and for posting it.

    I just read Taylor Marsh (none / 0) (#13)
    by Lil on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:39:45 PM EST
    who wrote very eloquently about this.

    The memorial overall is absolutely (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:02:33 PM EST
    beautiful. The family tribute with their gloves is such a huge display of love and unity.

    I'm so grateful they decided to share this entire memorial with the world.

    I always enjoy your liveblogging (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:13:12 PM EST
    even if it's not something I'm necessarily interested in, so thanks.  I do want to watch this when I get home from work though.  I still can't even believe MJ is dead.

    Stevie Wonder's comments (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 02:53:38 PM EST
    were moving, and he really has been hit hard by this, as was evident in his concert last week -- the first one after word of Jackson's death.  Wonder tore up his set list for his concert and turned it into a memorial; see the review here.

    Overall, I also am surprised and appreciative that this memorial service was so tasteful, done so well.  And I'm especially appreciative for all of the videos of the young Michael Jackson I remember so well and with such awe at that voice, that poise, that stage presence -- and that pure joy he showed in his gifts . . . before that beautiful child became such a troubled man.

    Even later in life (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by nycstray on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:20:40 PM EST
    that pure joy he showed in his gifts

    was always there. I think that's one thing I'm thankful for for him, with all the BS, he never seemed to lose that joy. And of course, the joy of the children.

    The videos of young MJ really hit home. The memories of that time are pretty vivid, for me, when I watch them.


    Every part of the Memorial was splendid, (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:14:04 PM EST
    and the whole was greater than the parts.

    Pastor Lucius Smith (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by nycstray on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:25:24 PM EST
    from a non-religious person here . . .

    I thought his closing was very inspiring. In all the crap that's been swirling for the past 2 weeks, I feel that MJ's generous side was getting the shaft, attention wise. Hopefully, his charitable work will get a lift soon.

    Pastor Lucius treated non-believers with respect, (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:31:52 PM EST
    true respect. He was inclusive to all religions and those without; he said bow your head if it's appropriate, but with much better wording.

    I really liked this guy! Why couldn't Obama hang with religious leaders like him?

    And I liked what he said.


    my jewish father... (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:42:53 PM EST
    ...lives in the heart of dixie.  he has worked with many churches on social issues in his community over the years.  but it has been the black churches, whether methodist, baptis, whatever, that have always shown him religious respect when he tells them regretfully that he can't join in their prayers to jesus, that he is a jew and it makes him uncomfortable.  the white churches, and habitat for humanity (with whom he worked for awhile) didn't exhibit anywhere near that kind of respect and tolerance.

    That's what I liked about him (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by nycstray on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:44:43 PM EST
    he was able to deliver a message that should be universal with all, not just certain people. As was MJ's belief/way also.

    I had already been thinking of putting a bit "out there" in memory of Michael, but his words really make me want to do more. Very good reminder, he  is.


    politics isn't part of this thread (none / 0) (#49)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 08:34:40 PM EST

    It was a beautiful memorial. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by indy in sc on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 04:21:33 PM EST
    I hope he was able to see it where he is and know how much he was loved.

    When John Lennon died it (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by SOS on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 05:04:33 PM EST
    was the end of an era also. The 60's. John didn't have a service like this there was no big funeral or fanfare.

    Michael Jackson's untimely death is also an end of an era. The 80's and all it symbolized.

    Regardless the music lives on.

    Well, this was kind of big (none / 0) (#59)
    by sj on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 11:03:09 AM EST
    "On 14 December 1980, millions of people around the world responded to Ono's request to pause for ten minutes of silence to remember Lennon"


    And Freddy Mercury's tribute concert was darn big, too.  I don't know about the end of an era but his final admission that he had AIDS was a huge deal at the time.


    1 billion people (none / 0) (#63)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 01:59:25 PM EST
    watched the memorial live around the world.

    Oh, I agree (none / 0) (#65)
    by sj on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 02:12:00 PM EST
    that's really, really big.  Just responding to this:

    John didn't have a service like this there was no big funeral or fanfare.

    The Lennon and Mercury affairs didn't have the benefit of today's technology for both promotion and execution.  But they were global and pretty darn big.

    And you're also right in that it was pretty moving.  I haven't been able to watch the whole thing but the bits that I've seen were really well-done and tasteful.  And brought a tear to this jaded eye.  Maybe that's partly because I resonate to the grief.  Not that it matters why.


    Thanks for sharing all of these videos. I was (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Angel on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:14:57 PM EST
    unable to see it today so this will be nice viewing.  From what I have heard it was a beautiful and moving tribute to MJ.  His children are beautiful and were obviously so loved by their father.  I watched the video of Paris speaking and I felt such anguish for that little girl, my heart just aches for these children.  I hope the world will let them live in peace.

    I deleted Dallas' comments (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 08:37:43 PM EST
    and banned him. He was insulting and rude.

    WSWS: A mostly tawdry affair (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Andreas on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 12:40:34 AM EST
    The WSWS writes today:

    The central political themes were heavy-handedly delivered by an official delegation of African-American politicians and personalities: Texas Democratic Congresswoman Shirley Jackson Lee, Martin Luther King III and his sister, Bernice King, and, offering the main eulogy, the Rev. Al Sharpton. Their collective remarks constituted a transparent effort to shore up the Democratic Party, its minority wing in particular, and transform the funeral service into something of a rally for Barack Obama.

    Jackson's death, at the age of 50, on June 25 had an undoubted impact on a great many people around the world. He was, for a combination of reasons, one of the best known personalities on earth. The entertainment and tabloid media, which hounded and derided Jackson in life, has bestowed on him--in death--nearly divine status.

    This speaks to their manipulative and corrupt character, and has little to do with the singer. An immensely gifted performer, with a deeply troubled and reclusive personality, Jackson, because he was so genuinely unknown to the public, now invitingly offers something of a blank slate on which various social elements are attempting to inscribe their agendas.

    The Michael Jackson memorial:
    A mostly tawdry affair

    By David Walsh, 8 July 2009

    that's absurd (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 01:13:14 AM EST
    in my view. And this thread is a tribute to Michael Jackson and his memorial. Please leave your politics out of it.

    If only Congresswoman Lee (5.00 / 0) (#56)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 06:51:46 AM EST
    had agreed with you.  She was, well, tacky.  She said her name more than she invoked that of the deceased.  

    You like Lee's aggrandizement (none / 0) (#57)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 09:26:29 AM EST
    Dark Avenger?  Explain -- what did I miss in it?

    "leave your politics out of it" (1.00 / 0) (#55)
    by Andreas on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 01:50:39 AM EST
    The events arround Michael Jackson and his death do have a political and social significance.

    But you are certainly free to disagree with that.


    Was Janet Jackson there? (none / 0) (#22)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:37:25 PM EST
    I didn't see her, or perhaps didn't recognize her.

    Yes. She had her hair pulled back (none / 0) (#26)
    by nycstray on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:48:00 PM EST
    with a small blk hat and MJ's daughter was at her side on stage at the end. Latoya had the larger hat on.

    yes, here's as larger (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:50:25 PM EST
    Found a photo with caption--Janet was wearing a (none / 0) (#28)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:51:11 PM EST
    hat covering her face. She was with Michael's children on stage and Paris was holding onto her when she spoke.

    Now I'm tearing up again....


    Did LaToya have the huge wide brimmed hat? (none / 0) (#29)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 03:57:58 PM EST
    Fantastic. Then who had one which covered her face a bit....  I'll figure it out; one of the NYC stations is rebroadcasting the memorial tonight (make that early morning) at 2:07AM.

    Any opinions of which broadcast network had the best coverage? CBS, NBC, and CBS here in NYC area. I didn't check any further up the "dial." Don't know about FOX or PIX.

    This does outdo St Ronnie's funeral coverage, I think, given all the side stories about estate value, will, child custody, medications. Wow.


    Yes (eom) (none / 0) (#46)
    by sher on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 08:03:50 PM EST
    I've added you tube links (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 04:13:12 PM EST
    to many of the performances above.

    Does anyone know (none / 0) (#38)
    by indy in sc on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:24:07 PM EST
    where/when the memorial might be replayed in full?

    11:00 p.m. EST on MSNBC (eom) (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by sher on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 08:02:16 PM EST
    Thanks, Sher. (none / 0) (#47)
    by Angel on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 08:05:54 PM EST
    Thank You! (none / 0) (#48)
    by indy in sc on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 08:09:38 PM EST
    yes, thanks, will they (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 09:00:52 PM EST
    play the whole thing? CNN is only replaying clips, shortening it to 1 hour. You really have to see the whole thing.

    Is anyone replaying it in HD? (MSNBC and CNN aren't in HD on Comcast in Denver.)


    Thanks Jeralyn for doing (none / 0) (#42)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:46:23 PM EST
    this.  I think it's noteworthy that a letter from Nelson Mandela was read at the opening.  If I missed mention of it above, I'm sorry.

    I missed that (none / 0) (#52)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 09:01:56 PM EST
    Maybe the NBC version I was watching skipped it. I also didn't see the pastor's closing. I watched NBC because I wanted to record it in HD. Might have been a mistake.

    I was watching (none / 0) (#60)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 12:51:39 PM EST
    at CNN online from my office; the Mandela letter was read at the very beginning, then Internet feed went down completely, and when it restarted, the feed was erratic all throughout the program, so I watched whatever MSNBC had when I got home last night.  I'll try to find a link to the text of the letter & send it after work.

    Mandela Statement (none / 0) (#78)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 02:46:23 PM EST
    from examiner.com:

    Dear Jackson family,

    "It is with great sadness that we learned of the untimely death of Michael Jackson. Michael became close to us after he started visiting and performing in South Africa regularly. We grew fond of him, and he became close -- a close member of our family. We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on so many occasions in his life.

    "Michael was a giant and a legend in the music industry. And we mourn with the millions of fans worldwide. We also mourn with his family and his friends over the loss of our dear friend. He will be missed and memories about him cherished for a very long time. My wife and I, our family, our friends, send you our condolences during this time of mourning. Be strong.

    "Nelson Mandela."


    Jennifer Batten (none / 0) (#44)
    by SOS on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:56:48 PM EST
    Who toured the world with Michael as his guitarist three times is twittering her experiences working with Michael for those of you who are interested.


    I don't care for your best pic (none / 0) (#62)
    by coigue on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 01:28:37 PM EST
    It looks like they are mistaking him for Jesus.

    guess it's subjective (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 02:03:41 PM EST
    I don't see that at all. He's grinning broadly and I think it was a way for the audience to feel he was there with him. To each his own!

    And in a pose that looked (none / 0) (#66)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 02:46:50 PM EST
    like he was opening his arms out to welcome everyone.

    that's a very nice interpretation (none / 0) (#72)
    by coigue on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 04:52:09 PM EST
    I watched takeouts from the tribute last night on (none / 0) (#67)
    by Angel on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 03:22:13 PM EST
    CNN and they showed a photo similar to the one Jeralyn said is the best, but the photo I saw showed MJ dressed in a white outfit with his arms spread.  I commented to my husband that it looked like Jesus on the cross and he agreed.  I actually liked the photo because I happen to think that MJ was a lot more pure and innocent than many here do.  But I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder.

    I have no idea whether he is pure and (none / 0) (#71)
    by coigue on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 04:51:03 PM EST
    innocent, most people don't. I think his life was tragic, and he was taken advantage of from an early age.

    Kind of reminds me of some really beautiful women, the gift to the world turns into a personal curse.


    Wanted to (none / 0) (#68)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 03:50:10 PM EST
    give you a '5' rating, but Jeralyn had already said not to post political views on this thread.

    I thought every single person who was on stage for the memorial tribute gave an excellent tribute to Michael. Thanks for the transcript on Shirley Jackson Lee's message.

    :) What does your father have (none / 0) (#73)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 05:18:54 PM EST
    to do with Michael Jackson or Shirley Jackson Lee's moving tribute to him?

    You need to go back and read again (none / 0) (#75)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 12:21:59 AM EST
    I never once insulted Shirley Jackson Lee. Never called her tacky or anything else critical.

    You've obviously confused me with someone else.


    Look downthread n/t (none / 0) (#76)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 12:25:04 AM EST