How was it?
It was good; sad, but it was great. I cried a lot. A LOT a lot. But it was great.
That's about all I can say when people ask how the Michael Jackson memorial went. I can't find the right words. I can't do it justice. All I can say is that I was very fortunate, I miss MJ, and I wish I could return the favor to the Jackson family.
Being at the Staples Center Tuesday morning during the Michael Jackson memorial was unreal. My heart was consistently inconsistent -- skipping beats, then beating too fast in an attempt to catch up. I repeatedly caught myself staring at the people around me. Such an eclectic group of people, with only one common denominator: Michael Jackson. The same man responsible for my constant dancing, the same man that made me want to create things that weren't real, the same man that made me want to care about the world and people just a little bit more, and make it a better place as much as I can. Every single person there saw something in the same man. It truly is amazing, and he really is the greatest entertainer that ever lived, in the words of Berry Gordy. Music is THAT powerful, and when someone as passionate as Michael Jackson performs, it's unparalleled, and that is immediately recognized.
Tuesday morning started off as a chilly, cloudy, dark Los Angeles morning. The line of Michael fans wrapped through downtown and all had one common interest: paying respect. Thousands of fans gathered to honor their idol, hundreds of police officers gathered to maintain the crowds, hundreds of Staples Center employees got together to ensure everyone got the chance to participate in the tribute, news anchors and camera crews converged to document it, and dozens of his friends and family united in one place. Within an hour and a half of receiving Michael Jackson memorial 'programs', the ceremony began with the amazing Smokey Robinson followed by a very awkward 8 minutes of silence. It was during that time that I looked at the stage that I had been staring at for the past hour and finally realized that the white rug lined with brilliant flowers was for none other than the casket, and within seconds of figuring it out, it became real, and Michael Jackson's casket was in front of my eyes, in front of the world's eyes. I lost it. I obviously knew going in that it was a memorial, but I didn't expect to lose it like I did. It was a different sorrow than what I had been feeling for the 12 days prior; it was real. This truly was it, there was no middle man, no media to tell me that MJ isn't here. I could see it, and that was a huge truth to wrap my head around.
Every person that took the stage was great. Every one of them. All of their hearts were on their sleeves. Magic Johnson was wonderful. I absolutely love it when people tell stories at funerals; that's really all you can do. Reminisce and remember them, how they were, and why they were so important to you and the world. The Reverend Al Sharpton, great. Spoke from the heart, and fired everyone up. Berry Gordy was outspoken, he was also great. Smokey Robinson, what a guy, and Queen Latifah, what a lady. Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, the entire crowd singing "We are the World" followed by "Heal the World," all spectacular. Marlon Jackson made me smile the most as he told the story of how Michael was always a dead giveaway with how he wore the same shoes no matter what disguise he was in. Usher made me lose it. I mega lost it when the picture of Michael, Kermit, and Jim Henson appeared behind him
while he was singing. Paris, Michael's daughter, made me lose it more. But the one that really got me was Jermaine. How he got through Michael's favorite song, "Smile," in its entirety, I have no idea. It certainly holds a lot of truth, and Jermaine and the entire Jackson family certainly hold a lot of courage and strength.
The service itself was close to flawless. It was beautiful. To my surprise, the televised version of the memorial translated really well. The emotions were still there, the enchantment, the excitement, the despair. It was all there. The only difference was that being there, it felt less like a world event and more like a family funeral of a loved one, which is exactly what it was. I never thought that I would ever see that many people in one place truly getting along, that whole-hearted, grieving, celebrating, commemorating, all for one man. Not one person in the crowd was the least bit disrespectful, every police officer was gracious, and every employee that worked at the Staples Center was so, so sweet. Even the various news channels were courteous. It really is amazing how for the past 40 years, one man has brought together so many people, and even when he is gone, he is still bringing them together, and it will continue to happen for generations far past ours. That's the power of Michael effin Jackson.