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CNN Newsroom

Michael Jackson Memorial

Aired July 07, 2009 - 14:01   ET



STEVIE WONDER, SINGER: This is a moment that I wished that I didn't live to see come, but as much as I can say that and mean it, I do know that God is good.


And I do know that as much as we may feel, and we do, that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him far more.

Michael, I love you. And I've told you that many times, so I'm at peace -- peace with that.

I as well told you that I never, ever imagined that I would write a song that would be sent to Quincy Jones and you would hear it, and my sister, Renee (ph) would get me the cassette and I would hear it back and be amazed that you did this song. And so incredibly so you did this song.


WONDER: I love you, Michael. God bless you.


KOBE BRYANT, BASKETBALL PLAYER: You all know that nobody ever gave on stage like Michael Jackson, but Michael was also a true humanitarian who gave just as much off stage as he did on stage.

Michael and his family came from humble roots, and Michael always cared very deeply for those in need. And beyond all of his records that he broke as a recording artist, Michael even made the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most charities supported by a pop star.


Because he gave so much to so many of us for so long, Michael Jackson will be with us forever.

MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER BASKETBALL PLAYER: I met Jackie Jackson about 30 years ago, and he was a season ticket holder for the Lakers, as well as his brother, Marlon. Jackie and I became friends and he began to invite me out to their home. Then I got to know the brothers and the sisters and his incredible mother and father. We loved to play with firecrackers and just have fun.

And Berry, just like you lost to the Jackson's in softball, so did I. And we had some incredible times together.

Then, Jackie invited me to go on tour with the brothers, and then I got to see the genius of Michael Jackson. He was so incredible. He always had command of not only the band, his brothers, but also the audience. I truly believe that Michael made me a better point guard and basketball player as I watched him be so great and be the greatest entertainer ever.

From there, Michael call immediate one day and said, "I want to talk to you about being in a video, 'Remember the time.'"


But I had to double check with Jackie to make sure it was really Michael, because I was scared to death to go over to his house, because this was my idol. He was everything to me.

So I went over to his house to have dinner. The chef came out and said, "What would you like?" I said, "Some grilled chicken." So, as we began to talk about the video and what he wanted me to do, the chef brought me out the grilled chicken, but he brought Michael out a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.


And I went crazy like, "Wait a minute, Michael. You eat Kentucky Fried Chicken?" That made my day. That was the greatest moment of my life.


We had such a good time sitting on the floor eating that bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. And I want to say this -- this is a celebration of his life, of his legacy.


I want to thank Michael for opening up so many doors for African- Americans to be on daytime shows, late-night shows. He allowed Kobe and I have to our jerseys in people's homes across the world, because he was already there. And he opened all those doors for us.

His three children will have the most incredible grandmother that God has put on this Earth to take care of them.


Michael's three children will have incredible uncles and aunts to take care of them as well. And they will have plenty of cousins to play with.

So, may God continue to bless this incredible family. We say that we're praying for you. Remain strong.

We want to thank the city of Los Angeles for putting this on, AEG for putting it on as well. And may God continue to bless you, Michael.



JENNIFER HUDSON, SINGER: We love you, Michael.


REV. AL SHARPTON, ACTIVIST: All over the world today people are gathered in love vigils to celebrate the life of a man that taught the world how to love. People may be wondering why there is such an emotional outburst, but you would have to understand the journey of Michael to understand what he meant to all of us.

For these that sit here as the Jackson family, a mother and father with nine children that rose from a working class family in Gary, Indiana, they had nothing but a dream. No one believed in those days that these kind of dreams could come true. But they kept on believing, and Michael never let the world turn him around from his dreams.

I first met Michael around 1970, Black Expo, Chicago, Illinois, Reverend Jesse Jackson, who stood by this family until now. And from that day, as a cute kid, to this moment, he never gave up dreaming.

It was that dream that changed culture all over the world. When Michael started, it was a different world, but because Michael kept going, because he didn't except limitations, because he refused to let people decide his boundaries, he opened up the whole world in the music world.

He put on one glove, pulled his pants up, and broke down the color curtain, where now our videos are shown and magazines put us on the cover! It was Michael Jackson that brought blacks and whites and Asians and Latinos together! It was Michael Jackson that made us sing "We are the World" and feed the hungry long before Live Aid!


Because Michael Jackson kept going, he created a comfort level where people that felt they were separate became interconnected with his music. And it was that comfort level that kids from Japan and Ghana and France and Iowa and Pennsylvania got comfortable enough with each other to, later, it wasn't strange to us to watch Oprah on television. It wasn't strange to watch Tiger Woods golf.

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 president 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!

There are those that like to dig around mess, but millions around the world, we are going to uphold his message. It's not about mess, it's about his love message.

As you climb up steep mountains, sometimes you scar your knee. Sometimes you break your skin. But don't focus on the scars. Focus on the journey.

Michael rose to the top. He out-sang his cynics. He out-danced his doubters. He outperformed the pessimists.

Every time he got knocked down, he got back up. Every time you counted him out, he came back in.

Michael never stopped! Michael never stopped! Michael never stopped!


I want to say to Mrs. Jackson and Joe Jackson, his sisters and brothers, we thank you for giving us someone that taught us love, someone that taught us hope. We want to thank you because we know it was your dream, too. We know that your heart is broken.

I know you have some comfort from the letter from the president of the United States and Nelson Mandela, but this was your child. This was your brother. This was your cousin. Nothing will fill your heart's loss, but I hope the love that people are showing will make you know he didn't live in vain.

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...


SHARPTON: ... he dealt with it anyway. He dealt with it for us. So, some came today, Mrs. Jackson, to say goodbye to Michael. I came to say thank you. Thank you, because you never stopped. Thank you because you never gave up. Thank you because you never gave out. Thank you because you tore down our divisions. Thank you because you eradicated barriers. Thank you because you gave us hope. Thank you, Michael, thank you, Michael, thank you, Michael.




BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: Michael was one of a kind. Thinking back to when we met and the many times that we spent together and whenever we were out together and there would be a picture taken, there would be a caption of some kind. And the caption usually said something like, "an odd couple" or "an unlikely pair." But, to us, it was the most natural and easiest of friendships. I was 13 when we met. And from that day on, our friendship grew. Michael always knew that he could count on me to support him or be his date, and that we would have fun no matter where we were.

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. I used to tease him, and I'd say, you know, "I started when I was 11 months old. You're a slacker. You were what, 5?". Both of us needed to be adults very early. But when we were together, we were two little kids having fun.

We never collaborated together. We never performed together. Or danced on the same stage. Although, he did try in vain one night to unsuccessfully teach me the moonwalk. And he just basically just shook his head and crossed his arms at my attempt. We never filmed a video or recorded a song, but what we did do was laugh. It was a competition to see who could make the other one laugh more or be sillier. Michael loved to laugh, and his heart would just burst out of him when he was laughing. He adored it when I did silly imitations or told him stories about my life.

M.J.'s laugh was the sweetest and purest laugh of anyone's I had ever known. His sense of humor was delightful, and he was very mischievous. I remember the night before Elizabeth Taylor's wedding and he had called me prior and asked if I would join him. He didn't want to be alone for all the festivities. It was the night before the big day.

Michael and I tried to sneak in to get the first peek of the dress. We were just giggling like crazy, and we almost passed out in his hysterics when we realized that Elizabeth was actually asleep in the bed. We thought she was in an entirely different room. We had to laugh and sneak out. Then, at the point of the wedding when there was the first dance, basically, we had to joke that we were the mother and father of the bride.

Yes, it may have seemed very odd to be outside, but we made it fun and we made it real. When he started wearing the glove, I was like, "What's up with the glove?". I'm like, "Look, if you are going to hold my hand, it better be the non-gloved one because sequins really hurt me." He used to shake his head and he would just smile. He loved to be teased. Seeing him smile made you feel like everything was going to be all right.

To the outside world, Michael was a genius with unchallenged ability. To the people who were lucky enough to know him personally, he was caring and funny, honest, pure, non-jaded and he was a lover of life. He cared so deeply for his family. And his friends. And his fans.


He was often referred to as the King, but the Michael that I knew always reminded me more of the little prince. thinking of him now, I would like to share a passage from the book. "What moves me so deeply about this sleeping prince is his loyalty to a flower. The image of a rose shining within him like the flame within a lamp, even when he is asleep. And I realized he was even more fragile than I had thought. Lamps must be protected. A gust of wind can blow them out."

Michael's sensitivity was even more extraordinary than his talent, and his true truth resided in his heart. As the little prince also said, "Eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart. What's most important is invisible." Michael saw everything with his heart. To his family, his brothers and sisters, Katherine, Joe, and to his children, Prince, Paris, Blanket, my prayers are with you.

Michael's favorite song was not one of the countless masterpieces that he gave us but it was a song that Charlie Chaplin wrote for the movie "Modern Times." It's called "Smile." There is a line in the song that says, "Smile though your heart is aching. Today, although our hearts are aching." We need to look up where he is undoubtedly perched in a crescent moon, and we need to smile.



MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: First, I must say to Mrs. Katherine Jackson, Mr. Joseph Jackson, the children of Michael Jackson, to Michael Jackson's brothers and sisters and the entire Jackson family -- our prayers and condolences are constantly with you.

My father once said that in life, one must discover what their calling is. And when they do, they must do their jobs so well that the living, the dead or the unborn could do them no better. He constantly challenged us to become our best by stating that if you cannot be a pine on the top of the hill, why just be a shrub in the valley but be the best little shrub on the side of the road. Be a bush if you cannot be a tree. If you cannot be the highway, just be a trail. If you cannot be the sun, just be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or you fail. You've got to be the best of what you are. Michael Jackson was truly the best of what he was.


Finally, Martin Luther Jing Jr. said that in life, if it falls ever your lot to be a street sweeper, you must sweep streets so well. In fact, you must sweep streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets, he said, like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets like Raphael painted pictures. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heavens and earth and would have to pause and say, here lived the great street sweeper that did his job well.

On June 25th, because he was the best, I believe heaven and earth did pause, indeed, to say of Michael Joseph Jackson, here lived a great entertainer who did his job well.


BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: To the Jackson family, being a part of a world renown family who has also experienced a sudden death on more than one occasion, my prayer is that no one and nothing, public or private, fact or fiction, true or rumored, will separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.


Because ultimately, at the end of the day, it is only God's love that will anchor you, sustain you and move you to a higher ground far above the noise of life. There, you will find the peace, comfort, and joy to move forward to advance Michael's legacy.

And for all of us, it is apparent that like our father and mother, Martin and Coretta King, Michael's life and work was inspired by the love of God. Throughout the ages, few are chosen from amongst us to use their gifts and talents to demonstrate God's love in an effort to bring the world together in true sister and brotherhood. Michael's was such a one.


He epitomized the words of our father that an individual hasn't started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Michael was always concerned about others with humanity. And I want the world to know that despite being embroiled in accusations and persecutions, as a humanitarian, he thought it not robbery to concern himself with one of this world's other greatest humanitarians -- our mother -- during her illness, just three months before her death.

In October 2005, I was with mom when Michael called her all the way from the Middle East. And although she couldn't speak because of a debilitating stroke, she listened as he said to her that he had been praying on his knees every day for her. That to him, she was America's true royalty and he wanted her to know if music was being played in her room because of its healing effect.

My only wish is that he could have seen the glow on her face. If faces could smile, as we know they do, that day Michael Jackson made our mother's face smile in spite of her condition. What an unforgettable moment.


He was such a thoughtful and self-less man, full of the unconditional love of God and good works that touched and changed lives. He was, indeed, a shining light. Like our father, Martin, and in remembrance of Michael, may we all be inspired to go and let our lights shine. Rest in peace, our brother, Michael.