Jackson's death came as a surprise. He was only 50 years old and had not been ill. Well, he had not been critically ill. I was a huge Jackson fan when I was a child (back in the Thriller and Beat It days) and I did enjoy his music through middle school/early high school (Man in the Mirror and Black and White days). As time went on, his persona became much more troubled and bizarre. The allegations of child molestation and the controversy surrounding the parentage of his children, his plastic surgery, etc. really darkened the reputation of a once dynamic entertainer. The news has been innundated with Jackson coverage. Politicians have spoken out about it. The world seems to be in mourning over the man that the world kicked while he was down for the last 15 years.
His star-studded memorial service was yesterday. I really did not think I would have any emotions about it and certainly did not think I would cry. I also thought that it would probably be a fiasco and circus atmosphere. I was wrong on all counts. The Jackson family was able to pull off a reverent, dignified service. There were many guest speakers and performances and approximately 15K fans who were chosen in the ticket lottery. I was most moved by seeing photos of a young Jackson on the screen. He was such a cute child with the world before him. He seemed so carefree and innocent. It is terrible to think of how that child's life turned out. Of course he was massively successful and enjoyed the perks of his success, but he was constantly torn down by the world and even his family. I wonder if the trade off was worth it?
Thoughts on the service itself....
*Mariah Carey and some guy I do not know sang "I'll Be There". Granted it was a pretty terrible performance by Carey, it was still a great song to start off with, especially with accompanying the pictures of a young Jackson.
*The handfuls of cheering, whistling and yelling fans was highly annoying. I understand that this was not your average funeral, but it was not your average "concert" either. Show some respect folks.
*I was very surprised to see that the casket was present.
*I was also surprised to see that Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Quincy Jones were not in attendance. Was Lisa Marie Presley? MacCauley Culkin?
*I found it incredibly fitting and touching that the Jackson brothers, also the pallbearers, wore a single sequined glove with their suits and sunglasses.
*His children. Wow. His daughter is gorgeous and they all seem so...normal. The youngest actually looks like him a little. The gum chomping, especially by the oldest, got old quick.
*Is Joe Jackson milking all of this? I question Jermaine a little, too.
*Queen Latifah spoke. The most moving part of her speech was when she read a poem that Maya Angelou had sent.