Tears and Tributes at Jackson Memorial

Jackson's Daughter Gives Heart-Wrenching Farewell to the King of Pop

PopEater / Wire Services
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Michael Jackson's star-studded memorial at the Staples Center had many moments of emotion, including a tear-filled message from his 11-year-old daughter Paris in the closing moments of the ceremony.
"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," a crying Paris said before diving into Janet Jackson's arms.
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Michael Jackson Memorial Photos

    Usher performs beside the casket of Michael Jackson during the memorial service.

    Kevork Djansezian, AP

    The Jackson family is seen in the front row as they honor their late brother.

    Harrison Funk, WireImage

    Musician John Mayer plays a guitar tune in honor of Michael Jackson.

    Mark J. Terrill, AP

    Actress-singer Jennifer Hudson sang 'Will You Be There?' during the memorial.

    Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

    Jermaine Jackson honored his brother by performing the song 'Smile.'

    Kevork Djansezian, AP

    Stevie Wonder performed 'They Won't Go When I Go' at the Michael Jackson public memorial service.

    Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

    Lionel Richie belts out 'Jesus Is Love' during the memorial service for Michael Jackson.

    Mark J. Terrill, AP

    Actress Brooke Shields held back tears as she told stories about her good times with Michael Jackson throughout her life.

    Kevork Djansezian, AP

    NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson tears up while telling a heartfelt story about his time with Michael Jackson.

    Mario Anzuoni, AP

    Singers Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz perform the hit song Jackson 5 song 'I'll Be There' during the memorial service.

    Mark J. Terrill, AP

Paris was flanked by her two brothers -- 12-year-old Michael Joseph and 7-year-old 'Blanket' Prince Michael -- in a rare public moment. Jackson famously shielded his children from the media, covering their faces with veils or masks.
The show, which included performances from performers across many decades, concluded with Jackson's entire family on stage, leaving the King of Pop with their final words.
"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," brother Marlon said as he fought back tears.
Actress Brooke Shields, who was friends with Jackson since both were children, said that "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 ... 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," Shields said.
Jackson's public memorial, watched by millions around the world, struck a tone more spiritual than spectacular Tuesday, opening with a church choir serenading his golden casket and continuing with somber speeches and gospel-themed musical performances.
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"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, " Reverend Al Sharpton said during his time on stage.
Millions of fans around the world gathered at odd hours to watch the ceremony, which was broadcast from Tokyo to Paris and streamed everywhere online.
Among those who saluted Jackson were music mogul Barry Gordy, the Rev. Al Sharpton and basketball greats Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant. Jennifer Hudson sang Jackson's hit "Will You Be There" and John Mayer played guitar on a whisper-light rendition of "Human Nature."
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Notes From the MJ Memorial:
>> Jackson's Daughter, Paris: "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."
>> 'Britain's Got Talent' star Shaheen Jafargholi stole the show. Watch
>> Usher traded in his dancing shoes for the emotional ballad, 'Gone Too Soon.'
>> Jermaine Jackson, wearing a sparkly glove, sang 'Smile' for his little brother.
>> Tearful Brooke Shields on her old friend: "He was a lover of life." Watch
>> Bursting with emotion, Jennifer Hudson sang 'Will You Be There.' Watch
>>Stevie Wonder aired his regrets before singing. Watch
>> Magic Johnson gave an anecdote about eating fried chicken with MJ.
>> Motown's Berry Gordy delivered touching eulogy. "You will live in my heart forever."
>> Queen Latifah read a poem by Maya Angelou, titled 'We Had Him.' Watch
>> Mariah Carey belted out 'I'll Be There' to start the show. Watch
>> The Jackson brothers carried in the amazing, gold-plated casket.
"This is a moment that I wished I didn't live to see," Stevie Wonder said before his performance.
The singer Smokey Robinson began the service by reading statements from Jackson's close friends Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela. The South African leader's statement ended with a poignant admonition: "Be strong."
After a long period of silence punctuated only by camera flashes, the tension broke with the organ strains of a black spiritual, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, going to see the King."
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Jackson Memorial Service

    A motorcade carrying Michael Jackson's family arrives at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park for a private funeral for the late King of Pop on Tuesday.

    Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

    Joe Jackson, the family patriarch, is seen here en route to his son's funeral.

    Michael Buckner, Getty Images

    An aerial shot of the Staples Center shows throngs of fans and a motorcade waiting outside of the Michael Jackson memorial.

    Jordan Strauss, WireImage

    A motorcade of Michael Jackson's family is seen here lining up in front of the Jackson family home in Encino on Tuesday.

    Chris Carlson, AP

    Fans lucky enough to get wristbands to the Jackson memorial are seen lined up outside of the Staples Center.


    Security around the Staples Center is as tight as possible, with police barricades set up on surrounding blocks to keep traffic away.

    Jordan Strauss, WireImage

    Fans patiently waiting to be allowed inside the Staples Center hold up their wristbands.

    Jordan Strauss, WireImage

    The Staples Center is seen here being prepped for Tuesday's massive memorial service for Michael Jackson. Nearly 17,000 fans who won tickets into the memorial service via an online lottery will pack the Staples Center along with roughly 5,000 other invitees. More Prep pics at RadarOnline


    A crush of fans lined up around the Staples Center awaits being allowed to enter the venue where the Jackson memorial will be.

    Matt Rourke, AP

    Vendors are using the memorial service to set up shop near the Staples Center to sell memorabilia.

    Jordan Strauss, WireImage

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Lionel Richie gave a gospel-infused performance in front of a shaft of light evoking a cross.
An estimated 20,000 people were in the Staples Center as Jackson's flower-draped casket was brought to the venue in a motorcade under law enforcement escort. Those who gathered constituted a visual representation of Jackson's life: black, white and everything in between, wearing fedoras and African headdresses, sequins and surgical masks.
"Words really can't explain how I feel," said Dani Harris, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom from Los Angeles. "I'm happy to be here, but the occasion is not so cool. I'm happy to be here and have some closure. It still doesn't seem real."
Fans with a ticket wore gold wristbands and picked up a metallic gold program guide on their way in. Acting as pallbearers, Jackson's brothers each wore a gold necktie, a single spangly white glove and sunglasses.
Members of the Jackson family sat in the front row of the Staples Center, including his brothers and what appeared to be his three children. Brother Jermaine Jackson took the stage and sang the standard "Smile" as he fought back tears.
Jackson's hearse had been part of a motorcade that smoothly whisked his body 10 miles across closed freeways from a private service at a Hollywood Hills cemetery to his public memorial and awaiting fans.
The traffic snarls and logistical nightmares that had been feared by police and city officials had not materialized. The thousands of fans with tickets began filing in early and encountered few problems, and traffic was actually considered by police to be lighter than normal.
"I think people got the message to stay home," said California Highway Patrol Officer Miguel Luevano. "When you have people staying home, it clears up those freeways."
Deputy Police Chief Sergio Diaz, operations chief for the event, said authorities had expected a crowd of 250,000. Besides reporters and those with tickets to the memorial service, the crowd around the Staples Center perimeter numbered only about 1,000, he said.
Outside the Staples Center, Claudia Hernandez, 29, said she loved Jackson's music as a girl growing up in Mexico. Now a day-care teaching assistant in Los Angeles, Hernandez said she cried watching TV coverage of his death.
"I'm trying to hold in my emotions," said Hernandez, wearing a wristband to allow her admittance to the service and holding a framed photograph of Jackson. "I know right now he's teaching the angels to dance."
More than 1.6 million people registered for the lottery for free tickets to Jackson's memorial. A total of 8,750 were chosen to receive two tickets each.
"There are certain people in our popular culture that just capture people's imaginations. And in death, they become even larger," President Barack Obama told CBS while in Moscow. "Now, I have to admit that it's also fed by a 24/7 media that is insatiable."
The city of Los Angeles set up a Web site Tuesday to allow fans to contribute money to help the city pay for his Staples Center memorial service. Mayoral spokesman Matt Szabo estimated the service will cost $1.5 million to $4 million.
It was not clear what will happen to Jackson's body. The Forest Lawn Memorial Park Hollywood Hills cemetery is the final resting place for such stars as Bette Davis, Andy Gibb, Freddie Prinze, Liberace and recently deceased David Carradine and Ed McMahon.
But Jackson's brother Jermaine has expressed a desire to have him buried someday at Neverland, his estate in Southern California.
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2009-07-01 21:43:59