Being able to attend Michael Jackson’s memorial service was an incredible and unforgettable experience. Not only did fans come to say goodbye, but they also came to say thank you. I spoke with fans right after the memorial and most told me that what will stick with them forever is seeing Jackson’s daughter, Paris, breaking down during her speech, and I would have to agree. Thinking about what his three children have gone through thus far, and what they have yet to go through, is truly heartbreaking.
Every artist who paid tribute to Michael did an excellent job, but I would have to say that Jennifer Hudson and Shaheen Jafargholi were exceptional.
Everyone who spoke, from Brooke Shields to Smokey Robinson, had only fond memories of Jackson and they all noted his innocent and child-like nature. Al Sharpton blew everyone away with his moving speech. He earned a standing ovation when he addressed Prince, Paris, and Blanket and told them “I want his three children to know, wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with, but he dealt with it!”
I met people from all over the world who came to Los Angeles solely to say goodbye to Michael Jackson. I met a couple from Spain, a mother and daughter from Utah, and a family from England, just to name a few. The mother and daughter from Utah came to the Los Angeles because they had tickets to see Jackson in concert. After they heard the news that he had passed away, they made their way to his estate in Encino, CA to say their farewells. Little did they know they would meet a woman, in need of cash and the owner of a Michael Jackson memorial voucher, who would sell them seats for the Staples Center. They were “overjoyed that they got the chance to be there,” they told me.
The parking garages near the Staples Center were definitely taking advantage of the occasion, charging up to $50.00 for a single parking space. Sneaky opportunists! There were also street vendors selling Michael Jackson memorabilia, which I’m sure Nancy Grace wouldn’t like too much.
All those involved, particularly LAPD and Chief Bratton, made this event run flawlessly. Everything from picking up the tickets at Dodger Stadium to exiting the Staples Center, went perfectly, and even better, without much traffic.
All in all, the memorial was a beautiful celebration of Michael Jackson’s life, a man who surely is, as Berry Gordy so eloquently put it, “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”