Michael Jackson Remembered In Song, Words
July 7, 2009 at 11:53 AM (PT)
The Jackson Brothers Carry The Casket To The Staples Center Stage, Berry Gordy Speaks And Stevie Wonder Performs
Pop icon MICHAEL JACKSON received a star-studded send-off at a memorial ceremony at the STAPLES CENTER in LOS ANGELES earlier TODAY. His golden casket was placed in front of the stage by pallbearers that included his brothers, at his memorial as the ANDRAE CROUCH CHOIR sang, "Soon and Very Soon." Among the highlights reported by CNN:
* MARIAH CAREY and TREY LORENZ sang THE JACKSON 5 hit, "I'll Be There," as a montage of JACKSON photographs appeared on arena screens.
* LIONEL RICHIE performed the song "JESUS IS LOVE."
* QUEEN LATIFAH called JACKSON "the biggest star on earth," while SMOKEY ROBINSON read personal messages from several of JACKSON's celebrity friends who could not attend.
"MICHAEL was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my life, part of the fabric of my life, in a way that I can't seem to find words to express" DIANA ROSS said in a message read by SMOKEY ROBINSON.
* ROBINSON also read a message from NELSON MANDELA: "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," ROBINSON said, relaying MANDELA's message. "We also mourn with his family and his friends over the loss of our dear friend."
Other performances were by STEVIE WONDER and JENNIFER HUDSON. Other speakers included MOTOWN RECORDS Founder BERRY GORDY, NBA greats MAGIC JOHNSON and KOBE BRYANT, BROOKE SHIELDS and the REV. AL SHARPTON.
For more, check out the L.A. TIMES' TWITTER page.
Before The Ceremony....
On the eve of the memorial, activity was spotted late MONDAY at the FOREST LAWN CEMETERY involving the JACKSON family. The cemetery is the location where relatives were expected to hold a private funeral. LA TOYA JACKSON, wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, was seen being driven away from the cemetery. KCAL-TV showed helicopter footage of a hearse backing up to the Hall of Liberty -- a circular building at the cemetery that contains a 1,200-seat auditorium -- to deliver a casket.
A few hours later, the casket was reloaded into the hearse and delivered to another nearby building, this time covered in a blue cloth.
More than 1.6 million people registered for free tickets to JACKSON's downtown memorial. A total of 8,750 people were chosen to receive two tickets each.
The legal maneuvering that marked JACKSON's extraordinary and troubled life also continued MONDAY, with his mother losing a bid to control his enormous but tangled estate. And in one of the few reminders of JACKSON's darkest hours, a NEW YORK congressman branded JACKSON a "pervert" undeserving of so much attention.
BRITISH AIRWAYS reported a surge of bookings as soon as the memorial arrangements were announced. VIRGIN's trans-Atlantic flights to SAN FRANCISCO, LAS VEGAS and LOS ANGELES were all packed with fans and VIPs, spokesman PAUL CHARLES said.
About 50 theaters across the country, from LOS ANGELES to TOPEKA, to WASHINGTON, D.C., were planning to broadcast the memorial live, for free.
In LOS ANGELES Superior Court, a judge appointed JACKSON's longtime attorney and a family friend as administrators of his estate over the objections of his mother, KATHERINE. Attorney JOHN BRANCA and music executive JOHN MCCLAIN had been designated in JACKSON's 2002 will as the people he wanted to oversee his empire. KATHERINE JACKSON's attorneys expressed concerns about MCCLAIN and BRANCA's financial leadership. "Frankly, Mrs. JACKSON has concerns about handing over the keys to the kingdom," said one of her attorneys, JOHN E. SCHREIBER.
DEBBIE ROWE, JACKSON's ex-wife and the mother of JACKSON's two oldest children, had planned to attend the memorial but backed out MONDAY. "The onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction," her attorney MARTA ALMLI said in a statement.
All those involved say the heart of LOS ANGELES will become a circus. In one way, that characterization will be literal. RINGLING BROTHERS AND BARNUM & BAILEY starts a run at STAPLES CENTER on WEDNESDAY, a booking long planned in advance. In the pre-dawn hours before JACKSON's memorial, the elephants will walk from the train station to the arena.
Wall-To-Wall Coverage From Clear Channel
On-Air: CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO stations will air at least three hours of MICHAEL JACKSON-centric programming, including a one-hour pre-show hosted by PAUL CUBBY BRYANT and CINDY VERO from WKTU/NEW YORK, followed by the un-hosted, commercial-free audio feed of the memorial service at the STAPLES CENTER.
Online: Participating CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO station websites will offer complete coverage. The Pre-Show and the Tribute show will also air in its entirely on a special MICHAEL JACKSON Memorial channel on www.iheartradio.com and the IHEARTRADIO mobile application available on iPHONE and BLACKBERRY.
KCRW Covers From L.A.
SANTA-MONICA based public radio station KCRW will air JACKSON’s Memorial Service in its entirety on KCRW.com’s all-music channel starting at 10a. Live audio from the event is on www.kcrw.com.