Return to Transcripts main page


Michael Jackson: The Memorial

Aired July 7, 2009 - 15:00   ET


REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: I'm Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and I hail from Houston, Texas, but I come to you on behalf of the many members of the United States House of Representatives. I come to you on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee, a Californian. And I come to you as every man and every woman. For I cannot write music or dance or sing. But I do know an American story.

And to Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and this wonderful family of brothers and sisters and cousins, to Michael Joseph and to Katherine Paris and to Prince, all of these wonderful, beautiful symbols of America.

And I can tell you as a member of the United States Congress, we understand the Constitution. We understand law. And we know that people are innocent until proven otherwise. That is what the Constitution stands for.


So you mourn today. I come, too, to thank you for many people don't understand the hearts of entertainers. They don't know how big their hearts are. They don't know how they heal the world on behalf of America. When we're at war, our icons like Michael sing about healing the world.

And so he called us into public service. It did not matter whether we were black or white. He even told us to beat it, beat the violence, and look at yourself in the mirror, because it meant that, if you were going to make a difference, look at the man or woman in the mirror.

I come to you today to say thank you.


JACKSON LEE: Some of you come from all faiths. And we respect that here in America.

But there is a story whose theme is so symbolic of this young and beautiful man. I love the story of the good Samaritan, because it talks about those who walk by the diminished, the devastated, and the poor. This was a broken and beaten man laying along a road.

No one stopped, but someone called the Samaritan. It could be in any faith. It's all about charity and love. And I call Michael Jackson the good Samaritan. I call him Michael Jackson, who cared and loved for the world. It bothered me. I grew up with him, as all of us and so many did. And, so, what an honor and a privilege to see him up close when he came to the United States Congress in my office and looked some 15 African ambassadors, representatives of heads of state, sitting in an office listening to Michael Jackson talk about caring and fighting HIV/AIDS.

They looked at him. He had a twinkle. They listened. He listened. What a miraculous experience to be able to listen and see Michael in action.

You know, there were words cast about, but I wonder if anybody was on his shoulder when he walked into Walter Reed Hospital and he walked along the aisles and the rows in the hospital room. This was in the midst of the Iraq war. Doctors stopped and nurses stopped.

And individual soldiers who had lost limbs stopped and were, in essence, moved and touched, as Michael was, by his desire to come and thank them for their sacrifice. So, don't tell me what an American story is all about. It is the salt of the earth when this family took the talent that God had given them and made it into a miraculous and wonderful story for America.

I come today for you to recognize that the flag flies and the people who have spoken have spoken to the people's house. They recognize and they speak. And those of us who serve in elected office, we respond to the people.

Michael fought for the tolerance of all people. In fact, I am reminded, although I speak in the tongues of all faith, that Michael fought a good fight. He was someone who understood and, I hope Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and the family will know, the lord is our shepherd and we shall not want.

Michael Jackson, you got to know his story. And it has not been told by all of what you have heard. He was someone who understood. If he was burned, he built a burn unit. If a hospital need beds, he built those beds. If they needed money for developing countries, Michael gave. If he was in Namibia, he went to orphanages.

Michael never stopped giving. And he touched those whose lives could be reconstructed, because the king, yes, the king, the king stopped and said, I care about you.

That is why, on the House floor on January -- on June 25, 2009, the Congressional Black Caucus and members of the House of Representatives stopped, stopped, stopped and had a moment of silence for this wonderful legend and icon.


JACKSON LEE: And, so, to the family, let me simply come as someone that wishes she was long-lost Sheila Jackson Lee. But I will keep looking and seeing, but coming to say to you that America appreciates and thanks you for Michael Jackson's life. For that reason, we have introduced into the House of Representatives this Resolution 600 that will be debated on the floor of the House that claims Michael Jackson as an American legend and musical icon, a world humanitarian, someone who will be honored forever and forever and forever and forever and forever.


JACKSON LEE: We are the world. And we are better because Michael Joseph Jackson lived.

On behalf of myself, and the people who have spoken, Michael Jackson, I salute you.



USHER, MUSICIAN: We love you, Michael. You mean so much to us, especially me.







ROBINSON: I thought I sang it.


ROBINSON: I wrote that song back in -- and...


ROBINSON: ... a few years later, here comes this little kid. And he is 10 years old.

And Berry had this gathering at his house. He said: Come. I want you to see somebody very special. So, I go over there and these five young guys are there. And they sang and danced up a storm.

A couple weeks later, they recorded my song. And I heard it.


ROBINSON: I thought to myself, now they have pulled a fast one on us, because this boy cannot possibly be 10 years old.

(LAUGHTER) ROBINSON: This song is about somebody who has somebody who loved them, but they treated them bad. They treated them so bad, until they lost them. And now they are paying the price of wanting somebody back that they treated bad and lost.

How could he possibly know these things?


ROBINSON: I quickly went over to him, because I wanted to see his birth certificate.


ROBINSON: I did not believe that someone that young could have that much feeling and soul and know. He had a lot of know. He had -- he had to know something to sing that song like that.

It was wonderful, though. As a songwriter, man, that's a dream come true, to have somebody sing one of your songs like that.

And I, myself, I never thought I would be here on today. That's my little brother over there. And you just don't think that you are going to see or you will live to see him gone. But he will never really be gone.

He is going to live forever and ever and ever and ever.


ROBINSON: He has made an enormous impact on all of our lives all over the world.

I mean, and I have young kids coming up to me now, because I -- when I do concerts, I sing, "Who Is Loving You?" in the concerts. And young kids who are at the concerts come up to say, hey, you singing Michael Jackson's song, huh?


ROBINSON: But he will live on forever.

I am a firm believer in blessings. And I have had so many, many blessings in my life. One of my greatest blessings was that I got a chance to know the Jackson family and to know Michael and to see him. I'm glad I lived in an era when I got a chance to see, what everybody has been coming up here saying, the greatest entertainer of all times. I am glad that I live in this era.

I believe so much in God. I believe so much that this is not it. We have life after this is done.


ROBINSON: So, my brother is in a place now where he is most certainly going to live forever in the hereafter. So, he is going to live forever twice, because he is going to live forever right here, because the world will never, ever forget Michael Jackson.


ROBINSON: I love you, my brother. I celebrate your life. I am proud that I had the chance to know you. God bless you. I know he is.


ROBINSON: I sit around with my head hanging down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you, Michael!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Michael!



SHAHEEN JAFARGHOLI, MUSICIAN: I just want to say, I love Michael Jackson. And I tell you now I just want to thank him so much for blessing me and every single individual on this earth with his amazing music. And just thank you very much.

I love you, Michael Jackson.


KENNY ORTEGA, FORMER PARTNER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: My name Kenny. My name is Kenny Ortega. And I was...


ORTEGA: Thank you.

And I was Michael's partner in the creating and directing of many of his tours, including "This Is It," and Shaheen was invited by Michael to join him in London for the show. So, I wanted to introduce him to everybody and to say thank you for coming all the way out here to join us today, Shaheen.


ORTEGA: We were here, we were right here a little less than a week ago. And Michael was with us, and the band, and Michael Bearden, and the singers, and the dancers, and our choreographer, Travis Payne, and our designers, and our crew.

We were all here. And we were a family. And this was our house. So, when the Jackson family and Randy Phillips asked Ken Ehrlich and I to help put together this memorial together, we knew we had to do it here. We knew we had to invite the world to join us here, Michael's house.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) ORTEGA: We were immediately surrounded by countless family, artists, and friends and dear hearts who unconditionally made this day possible.

As we came together as a team, we knew we had to celebrate Michael's life through his music, as well as commemorate his passing. Both Ken and I worked with Michael over the years. And Michael and I were here in the final, final stages of mounting what we all knew and we all saw, I promise you, was his triumphant return to the world.


ORTEGA: It was also -- it was also, I think, his greatest personal work.

We did it all right here in this place, the Staples. So, before we conclude today's memorial, we wanted to present a performance from the London "This Is It!" concert. The fans have been asking for it. This was one of Michael's very, very favorite moments in the show always. He created this and brought it to life.

It is a living testament to him being timeless and timely, musical and magical. This is for him, his living legacy, his care, his heart, his concern about our planet, about the human condition.

Michael Jackson will live in our hearts for always. Heal the world. Make this a better place for our children, for our children's children.

Michael, we love you more. Join us.



UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Think about the generations and to say we want to make it a better place for our children and our children's children, so that they -- they know it is a better world for them.

We think we can make it a better place.



JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: On behalf of my family, myself, fans, friends, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, I would like to thank everyone for coming out. As you know, I'm lost for words. I was his voice and his backbone. I had his back, so did the family, but we thank you. That's all I can say. We thank you very much.


MARLON JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: I hurt. I stand -- I stand here trying to find words of comfort and solace, trying to understand why the Lord has taken our brother to return home from such a short visit here on Earth.

Michael, when you left us, a part of me went with you. And a part of you will live forever within me, but also a part of you will live forever within all of us.

Michael, I will treasure the good times, the fun we had, singing, dancing, laughing. I can remember when we used to come home from school and we would grab a quick bite to eat and we tried to watch the "Three Stooges" as much of it as possible before mother would come in and say, it's time to go to the recording studio.

I also, Michael, remember a time when I went into the record store and there was this man purchasing a lot of C.D.s. And he would go and grab another batch of C.D.s. He was an older gentleman. He had short afro, but crooked teeth, and his clothes were rumpled. I walked up behind him and said, "Michael, what are you doing in this store?"


MARLON JACKSON: He turned to me and said, "Marlon, how did you know it was me?" I told him, "You're my brother. I can spot you anywhere, regardless of your makeup. I know your walk. I know your body language. And those shoes did not help."


MARLON JACKSON: Michael wore the same shoes wherever we went. But I guess that was his way of trying to experience what we take for granted. We would never, never understand what he endured, not being able to walk across the street without a crowd gathering around him. Being judged, ridiculed, how much pain can one take.

Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone.


MARLON JACKSON: Michael, Michael was the voice of our angelic trumpets, and he will continue to be the voice, that angelic voice in heaven, nearest to our Creator and waiting on us when our day comes to pass. Michael, I love you. I will miss when we said our goodbyes. I will hug you and I say I love you. And your response was, "I love you more."

You know, the Lord has a purpose for everything. And sometimes we just can't see it or understand it but it will be made clear to us when we reach that ultimate, ultimate reward of being in his presence. And, Michael, you are there. You are right there. You have finished your work here on earth. And the Lord has called for you to come home with him.

So I thank you, Michael. I thank you for all the smiles that you've placed in many people's hearts and I thank you for everything that you've done for others across this globe in the Lord's name. And I have one request, Michael -- one request. I would like for you to give our brother, my twin brother, Brandon, a hug for me. I love you, Michael. I'll miss you.


MARLON JACKSON: I think Janet wants to say something.



JANET JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S SISTER: Speak up, sweetheart, speak up.

PARIS KATHERINE JACKSON: Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much.


JERMAINE JACKSON: We want to thank you all for loving my brother and supporting our family. Thank you and good night.


CROWD: We love you, Michael. We love you, Michael. We love you, Michael.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just before we go, there will never be another Michael Jackson. His musical presence has left its mark on his family, his friends and the millions of fans who have sang and danced or at least tried to do so like Mr. Michael Jackson. He was often imitated but never duplicated. He wanted to heal the world through his music and in a small way, he succeeded. His music reached across the barriers of race, culture, and even national identity, unifying the planet, if only for a few moments.

So now it's up to us. We should all look at the man or the woman in the mirror and change the way we treat each other. Let's celebrate our uniqueness, respect our differences, and make that change starting today. My prayer is that this will be more than just a memorial for Michael Jackson but a remembrance, truly, of what he means to us -- because all around us are people of different cultures, different religions, different nationalities, and yet the music of Michael Jackson brings us together, not only here but around the world.

The family has allowed me to close this memorial with a prayer. And I'm going to ask that you would just catch the hand of the person next to you, whether you are in this auditorium or watching by television, wherever you might be, in solidarity and remembrance of truly what Michael Jackson's music has done to us. If you are so inclined, well you bow your heads and let's pray.

Our Heavenly Father, we thank you this day for the memory of Michael Jackson that means so much to us, even right now. Thank you for the gift of music that he gave us. Thank you for the man that he was and for what he sought to do with his life.

We pray, Father, that you will just remind us that we truly can make a difference if we make up our minds to do so. Help us to take a message of love and healing and peace with us as we go. Let us demonstrate that love when we go to school. Let us demonstrate that love when we go to work. Let us demonstrate that love as we walk the streets of our city and no longer turn a blind eye to the needs of those that we walk by every day.

Let us stop judging people by the color of their skin and the accent of their voice. Let us, rather, look in the heart of every man, woman, boy and girl, and desire truly to reach that person with the love that Michael Jackson showed us in his music. Even now, the King of Pop must bow his knees to the "King of Kings," and we pray that you remind us, Lord, that our lives are but dust, we are here for a moment and then we are gone.

Thank you, Lord, for how Michael impacted us and may we now impact others. For we pray that this moment will not be forgotten as an event to have been enjoyed but rather a reminder that we too can make a change. Bless us and keep us with the love by which you kept Michael and we offer this prayer unto you in the glorious name of Jesus our Lord. Let all who agree, say amen.

CROWD: Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless you and praise God for you.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. We have been covering the Michael Jackson memorial for you live right here at the Staples Center. You can see inside the center where people are standing. The tribute has just ended. It lasted just about two hours.

I'm Soledad O'Brien, along with Anderson Cooper, outside the Staples Center. You can see people beginning to flow out as well. What a moving tribute. What a -- what an incredible two hours with performances and speeches of some of the legends of the business and people who are close personal friends of Michael Jackson's.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And Larry King was sitting as an invited guest of the family. He joins us now from inside the Staples Center.

Larry, your thoughts?

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson it exceeded any expectation that I might have had. Sean (ph) and I were blessed to be sitting there as close we were and to be around the family in that moment.

I thought it was an incredible evening of performances. Usher and Jennifer Hudson were incredible. But I thought, the stick out, if there was a stick out in this stick out of evenings was Reverend Sharpton. He exceeded himself. It was a great speech, well thought out, beautifully delivered and he had the crowd just totally encoil (ph), if I could call it that. I have -- I don't -- I've never experienced it.

I have within to the Staples Center many times, this is the most extraordinary time ever. To see Kobe Bryant and Magic standing there in their city clothes standing on that stage at end part of this, to be remembered for a long time and I think the crowd was marvelous, too. The appreciation was great. There was no occurrences.

I saw Police Commissioner Bratton before the show and he was -- told me that 3,000 police officers were put on duty today. That is one-third, Anderson, one-third of the Los Angeles Police force was on duty. It was an extraordinary event and I hope the egress is as good as the entrance was. It was some kind of day.

We'll do, of course, a big show on it tonight as I know you will as well -- Anderson?

COOPER: Larry, you were -- you were close to stage. You were an invited guest of the family. A lot of the performers would come can and greet members of the family. What was -- obviously, it was a somber mood among family members.

In the area you were sitting, what was it like?

KING: Well, I was right behind the family. We're in the third row of the family. And the first row was extraordinary, the way the family was -- I think, the family was truly heart felt by the statements made by the people and performances by the entertainers, and the way they were hugged and grasped and I think the attention given by the performers as they came off and the speakers to the family were -- there is no way to put it, Anderson. This was the height of emotion. This was the loss.

And I think what impressed the family the most was that anything referred to that might have been a defect or neglect on the part of Michael Jackson with regard to the public was put away today, at least for these two hours. And this was also an air of forgiveness, and I think the family felt that from every person who entertained and came off.

We sat right directly behind Berry Gordy, who was totally moved through the whole thing. One kind of a music note, at the end when that young boy came out to sing, Anderson, I leaned over to Berry and I said, "Who is that"? And he said "I have no cotton pickin' idea who that is, but if I were in the business, I would sign him tomorrow." And, of course, we later learned he was going to be part of the London show with Michael.

How old was he? Did you find out, Anderson that young man at the end?

COOPER: I think we're -- I did not find out. I think he was in the neighborhood of 12 or so. But I'm not sure.

Larry, you were, I guess, relatively close to the casket with Michael Jackson when it was brought in.

KING: Yes.

COOPER: What did it look -- what did it look like?

KING: It looked very expensive, obviously. It looked like pure gold and totally unexpected. You may have known from the perch and you're being here previously before we arrived that it was coming. I had no idea it was coming. So, I was totally surprised by it.

It was -- I normally -- I'm not crazy about funerals to begin with, and this was not a funeral, it was a memorial service. So, I'm -- maybe it is just me. The Frank Sinatra funeral, they took the casket, put it right in the middle of the aisle and then played one of his songs as the people left and that was a moving moment.

I had no idea it was coming. You may have known it. If you did, you had me be. I was taken by it. And eventually, enjoy -- enjoy is the wrong word -- I eventually appreciated the fact that it was there. I think it was a marvelous way to do things. And when Usher walked down and touched that casket, what can you say?


KING: Yes.

COOPER: Larry, I appreciate you being there and talking about it. Thank you very much, Larry King. We're going to take ...

KING: Anderson, see you later on the roof.

COOPER: All right. We'll see you tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts at 9 p.m. east coast time, of course, followed by "AC 360" at 10:00. Our coverage continues.

Now, we have a lot more ahead. We have reporters all out here. We are continuing to follow the Jackson family as they move on now to the next event. Our coverage continues. We'll be back right after this short break.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We are coming to you live from the Staples Center. You can see the throng of crowds which were inside the Staples Center just a few minutes ago, are now making their way out.

You can hear the churn of the helicopters just above our heads. Of course, this is an event that is being watched not just here in the United States but around the globe. I would imagine, in fact, that it's going to be one of the most watched events maybe in recent history. Pretty remarkable service, memorial -- whatever you may want to call it -- ceremony inside.

COOPER: Really, a combination of everything. I mean, some very emotional moments, speeches, performances that were also extremely emotional.

O'BRIEN: We hear from Paris, Michael Jackson's daughter.

COOPER: Michael Jackson's daughter.

O'BRIEN: Oh, it broke your heart when she started to cry ...


O'BRIEN: ... and she said, "My father is the best father." Oh, just was absolutely -- I mean, it was the closing words of the memorial and just -- really, really moving.

COOPER: That was really one of those moments that was -- it's probably unplanned, unscripted, members of the family at the end alone on the stage, just speaking. We heard from Marlon Jackson and obviously from Paris as well.

O'BRIEN: We have talked earlier, Bryan, (INAUDIBLE), and we talked earlier about how close the family is, and I think you got a sense of that when they all hug on stage and when Paris and others started to cry, how closely and tightly they held each other.

There were certainly some phrases about, you know, "Maybe now, they'll leave you alone, Michael," giving a sense that he has been under siege by his -- even his fans. I mean, he's the most popular entertainer in the world and certainly by the paparazzi and the press, with every detail of his life being sort of chewed over for decades now.

BRYAN MONROE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And that was one of the songs "Leave Me Alone." You know, that's seen at the end where Paris leans on the arm of Janet and then came up and said, you know, "Daddy has been the best father anybody could have."

O'BRIEN: Oh, it broke your heart.

MONROE: There wasn't a -- there wasn't a dry eye, I'm sure in the house.

O'BRIEN: Oh, my gosh.

MONROE: Here at Staples Center and probably around the planet. We saw tears streaming from First AME Church in Los Angeles, in Las Vegas, at Times Square, that moved everybody.

COOPER: And, you know, you also had moments of levity. Brooke Shields talking about her relationship with Michael Jackson and how much he loved to laugh, making fun of his glove, her asking Michael Jackson one point, "What's up with the glove" for the first time when he debut the sequin glove.

O'BRIEN: She had incredible insight, I thought. Because I thought that she was the first person, you know, most people don't really speak about -- really, genuinely were close to Michael Jackson wouldn't betray that friendship and talk about him and to hear from another child star about that loneliness, that sort of sense of who do you talk to, who do you hang out with who do you get to be with?

And that is really what she described, how the two of them were kind of a perfect fit. Because she also was young, and she had been famous since 11 months, and the two of them just got to be kids when they were actually outside of their own company, working adults. You know, little kids are basically adults, you know, making money.

MONROE: Brooke made the joke that what took Michael so long? Brooke Shields started 11 months old, Michael, it took him -- he was 5 years old before he got started.

COOPER: I also I think of Smokey Robinson, he got up and said -- referenced to one of the songs that just played, the Jackson Five was singing and said, "I wrote that song" and then he went on to say, "I thought I sang that song."


MONROE: Yes, and he said, "That boy. He could not possibly be 10 years old."

COOPER: Yes, remarkable. Roland Martin has been standing by, watching along with all of us and Jeffrey Toobin, our legal analyst and a lot of others. Let's check in with Roland.