This day started at 4.30am (Wednesday 8th June – New Zealand) for me and for many die hard Michael Jackson fans throughout the country, who arose early today tuning in to watch the public Memorial service and tribute to the late ‘King of Pop’ – the greatest entertainer the world has ever known – Michael Joseph Jackson (1958-2009). Like many throughout the world, my eyes were glued to the television screen, I suppose for me, I was not a ‘die-hard, cry-cry, obsessed’ fan who woke up to, ate to, showered to or slept to – Michael Jackson songs, but I was around when MJ received his 12 Grammy nominations for the number 1 album of all time Thriller (taking home 8). I loved imitating the Thriller zombies (particularly the ones who came crawling out of the sewage system). I grew up in the 80s and 90s.
I was one of many who for the past week have been twittering, facebook and bebo blogging about how the world will remember Michael Jackson. I will have to admit that the poignant moment for me today – in watching the public Memorial service was when Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris spoke at the very end. Her short, yet from the core of her being, speech – told the world that Michael Jackson was a human being – “daddy…father”. Her simple words shut the mouths of cynics and controversial media spinners the world over. That one short moment in time, resonated the words “Beat it” to all who sought to dumb down the memorial by saying that Michael Jackson was not a ‘role-model’ or ‘icon’ because of the child molestation accusations and other media-spun wacky moments which plagued his life.
It is not necessary that I go into a full account of the Memorial Service proceedings, but I must say that Rev. Al Sharpton – while most times, his rhetoric cradles the very idea of ‘racism’ that he tries his very best to abolish, his words today rang through, loud and clear, when he turned to Prince Michael, Paris Katherine and Prince Michael ‘Blanket’ II (MJ’s kids) and said “There wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy…it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.”
* What was up with Mariah Carey today? 1st her dress (although black) with its plunging neckline, I felt it was a little too diva-ly too much. 2nd her voice. Is she battling the flu or was she trying too hard to make it sound like she was grieving?
* The Best Speech(es) – (as mentioned above) Rev. Al Sharpton, MJ’s daughter Paris, Smokey Robinson and Brooke Shields.
* Best Performance of a Michael Jackson song – Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “Will You Be There”. She kept it simple, hitting all of Jackson’s moments in the song precisely and you could really feel her empathy (having recently gone through tragedy herself).
* Best Tribute moment: ‘Man in the Mirror’ instrumental as the golden casket was being taken out of the Staples Center.
I sat there in my living room this morning, watching and thinking to myself – AM I IN AWE OF THIS GUY? If so, WHY? I don’t think I was necessarily in awe of him. That wasn’t the reason why I set my alarm for 4am (even though I stayed up till about 2am watching movies). As I alluded somewhat to above, I was not a ‘die-hard’ fan. So my being up so early wasn’t because I wanted to ball my eyes out and be ‘one’ with Michael Jackson and his grieving family.
I got up to watch the public memorial service simply because I wanted to have the “I saw it happen” , “I was watching”, “this was what I was doing when…” stories to tell others. In a way, I also watched the LIVE screening because I felt the world needed to just STOP and honor him. Even if the ‘unfortunate’ situations he got himself caught in…even if that overshadowed his great musical and entertainment abilities which transcended oceans, seas, cultures and languages…..I felt…the whole world simply needed to STOP.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
It is not known where or when Michael Jackson’s body (coffin) will actually be laid to rest. There was indication late last week, from Jermaine Jackson that he would love to see Michael eventually be laid to rest at the Neverland Ranch. There is a battle brewing here over the custody and care of Jackson’s 3 children, what with Jackson’s 2nd wife Debbie Rowe fighting now for them. This could very well be drawn out – which will only serve the media.
I personally think Michael Jackson should be laid to rest at the Neverland Ranch. It is the only befitting this great entertainer. It will be interesting to watch our the financial aspects of Michael Jackson’s life plays out over the next few weeks. There is not a doubt on anyone’s mind that Michael Jackson will be bigger in death and it could very well see the deficit in Jackson’s finances be wiped clean by the end of the year. It is from there on – when in deciding who will have care and custody of his children (who will command most of his remaining assets and money) that the battle will become heated. Of the Jackson family remaining (at least from my outside vantage point) Janet Jackson will be my choice as guardian with Mrs. Katherine Jackson continuing her matriarchal – grandmother-ly duties close at hand. The way Debbie Rowe is being portrayed now in the media tells me that she’s really out there to seize control of the money and wealth being willed to the kids.
Simply put – It’s a matter of “WATCH THIS SPACE”….In the meantime – May Michael Jackson finally be at peace.