On Tuesday (July 7), fans across the world said goodbye to Michael Jackson. Although the official public memorial took place in downtown Los Angeles, the world stood still around the globe, gathering before televisions and computer screens to experience and mourn the King of Pop.
Family, friends and fans of the late, great pop star gathered at Staples Center in Los Angeles, usually home of the Los Angele Lakers, to bid MJ farewell, and celebrate his super-successful and groundbreaking music career.
Celebs like such as Mariah Carey, Usher, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Queen Latifah, Brooke Shields, John Mayer, Mike Tyson, Lionel Richie, Chris Brown, and the Kardashians, were among the thousands who showed up to pay their respects.
Mourners who were lucky enough to attend were given full-color, glossy programs filled with triumphant photos and emotional tributes to Michael Jackson, reports the Associated Press.
Some of the pictures include snapshots of Jackson with his brothers and sisters, celebrities and world leaders. It also features testimonials from Jackson family members, including a full page by La Toya Jackson recalling a day in 1980 when Jackson watched the Grammy ceremony and was crying because he only won one Grammy.
To comfort him, she told him he’d go on to win more Grammys than anyone in music history. While he doesn’t hold the record for most Grammy wins, he went on to greatness.
“I will be the biggest and the greatest entertainer of all time,” she quoted him as saying.
She added, “You’ve lived your dream, you’ve proven to us all that if you believe, you will achieve; you believed, and oh my, did you achieve!”
The program’s back cover is of Jackson rehearsing for his “This is It” comeback show on June 23, with the words: “Without the love and devotion of Michael’s beloved mother, Mrs. Katherine Jackson, this program would not have been possible.”
Here’s a list of comments from celebs today, as reported by the AP:
- “I just wanted to say, ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine! I just wanted to say I love him so much.” — Jackson’s daughter, Paris, who broke down in tears.
- “Michael, when you left us, a part of me went with you. … I will treasure the good times, singing, dancing, laughing. … We will never understand what he endured … being judged, ridiculed. How much pain can one take? Maybe, now, Michael, they will leave you alone.” — Marlon Jackson.
- “Michael always knew he could count on me to support him or be his date. … We had a bond and maybe it was because we both understood what it was like to be in the spotlight from a very, very young age. I used to tease him and say, `I started when I was 11 months old. You’re a slacker. You were like 5?’ Both of us needed to be adults very early, but when we were together, we were two little kids having fun. … M.J.’s laugh was the sweetest and purest of anyone I’ve known.” — Brooke Shields.
- “He created a comfort level, where people that felt they were separate became interconnected with his music. … Those young kids grew up from being teenage, comfortable fans of Michael’s to being 40 years old and being comfortable to vote for a person of color to be the president of the United States of America. Michael did that. Michael made us love each other. Michael taught us to stand with each other.” — The Rev. Al Sharpton.
- “I’m here representing millions of fans around the world who grew up listening to Michael, being inspired and loving Michael from a distance. … Somehow when Michael Jackson sang and when he danced … we felt he was right there. … He made you believe in yourself.” — Queen Latifah.
- “When he did his iconic moonwalk, I was shocked. It was magic. Michael Jackson went into orbit and never came down. Though it ended way too soon, Michael’s life was beautiful.” — Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.
- “This is a moment that I wish that I didn’t live to see come. But as much as I can say that and mean it, I do know that God is good and I do know that as much as we may feel — and we do — that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him far more.” — Stevie Wonder.
- “Michael was a personal love of mine. A treasured part of my world … ” — Smokey Robinson, reading a note from longtime Jackson friend Diana Ross at Tuesday’s memorial service in Los Angeles.
- “You don’t think you’ll live to see them gone. … He is going to live forever and ever and ever and ever.” — Smokey Robinson.
- “We miss you, Michael.” — Mariah Carey, after singing “I’ll Be There” at Jackson’s memorial service.
- “There are certain people in our popular culture that just capture people’s imaginations. And in death, they become even larger. Now, I have to admit that it’s also fed by a 24/7 media that is insatiable.” — President Barack Obama, who was asked about the outpouring of emotion related to Michael Jackson’s death during an interview with CBS while he was in Moscow.
- “They’re holding up well in part because they’re a strong family … a big family, religiously devout family. Therefore, they have a sense of insulation of their faith.” — The Rev. Jesse Jackson, on how Michael Jackson’s family is coping.
In New York, residents gathered in Times Square to watch the event on a jumbo screen. Entertainment Weekly says a light rain began to fall in New York, scattering the Times Square observers under overhangs and into nearby shops, but some fans didn’t care.
Elizabeth Marrero and her family, clad in Jackson t-shirts and buttons, rolled up their posters but remained in their lawn chairs. “We’re staying,” she said. “It’s only water; we’re not going to melt. We’re here to say goodbye to the King of Pop.”
If that’s not indication of what Michael meant to his fans, we don’t know what is.
Rest In Peace to the greatest entertainer in music, of all-time.