Musician Stevie Wonder reflected on Jackson's passing saying "as we may feel, and we do, that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him far more." Wonder then went on to perform "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" and "They Won't Go When I Go."
Say what you will, but the Rev. Al Sharpton spoke forcefully and eloquently about the King of Pop. He tells Michael Jackson's children that it "wasn't nothing strange about your Daddy. It was strange what your Daddy had to deal with. But he dealt with it anyway."
Give Sharpton some credit for acknowledging that some people did not like Jackson. Sharpton confronted this issue by being poetic, words that brought the crowd to its feet.
These A-list speakers have had time to craft their final words. Some have used humor. Some have tearfully told their personal relationship with the pop icon, like Brooke Shields. Some, like artist John Mayer, carefully take one of his songs and give their own tiny twist as if to tell Jackson, "Your songs cross music genres." That they do.
In addition to Queen Latifah's thoughts about Jackson, the actress also read a poem from Maya Angelou called "We Had Him." Angelou wrote that "he came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance, despite the anguish of life he was sheafed in mother love."
Motown founder Berry Gordy reflects about the young Michael Jackson saying “we all knew he was special.” Gordy said Jackson sang a Smoky Robinson “Who’s Loving You” better than Robinson himself to which Robinson agreed. “That was Motown,” Gordy said, adding that love always won out. Gordy also said Michael Jackson will remain one of "the greatest entertainers that ever lived." The word we should remember is "entertainer."
Yes, Jackson could sing. His songs struck a chord. But entertain - his moves, the videos — is what fans can picture still. What musician today can put on a show like Jackson, and leave us still talking about it?
In a letter by Diana Ross, read by Smokey Robinson, she wrote that she "decided to pause and be silent, this feels right to me." Ross goes on to say, "Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my world, and part of the fabric of my life in a way I cant seem to find words to express."
Smokey Robinson reads a letter penned by former South African president Nelson Mandela. "We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on so many occasions in his life. Michael was a giant and a legend in the music industry. And we mourn with the millions of fans worldwide," wrote Mandela.
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