While I am of the opinion that Michael Jackson, systematically killed himself, probably unintentionally, through the things that he repeatedly put his body through trying to make himself into something he wasn't instead of celebrating the incredible gifts that he had. He really was quite honestly one seriously messed up dude. HOWEVER!
I'm watching his memorial service on msnbc.com (thanks for allowing us to see it) and have been following the story over the past few days. He continues to have the most incredible effect on others - maybe even more so now. The anguish and the outpouring of grief - seeing what he meant to them. He was very much a symbol. It's been pointed out over and over just how many color barriers he brought down.
Every one who spoke, clearly never, ever expected to be in the position they were in now. They obviously wanted to do it, but not something they would have anticipated.
Speakers and Performers (I have missed some):
Stevie Wonder (spoke), Kobe Bryant (spoke), Smokey Robinson (spoke), Rev. Al Sharpton (spoke), John Mayer (guitar), Brooke Shields (spoke), Jermaine Jackson (sang), Martin Luther King III (spoke), Bernice King (spoke), Sheila Jackson Lee (Rep D-Tx) (spoke). Usher (sang), [right around now the feed has gone down drat] Finally got it restarted - everyone who spoke plus a lot of others is on stage (Jesse Jackson is there) and I don't know who is on stage but she's singing Heal the World (make the world a better place for you and for me), and I have never seen Usher and Brooke Shields standing together. The brothers Jermaine and Marlin are making parting comments. What's different is they are now talking directly to Michael, then shifting to talking about him. Marlin made the pointed comment of "You had to take so much pain. .. Maybe now they will leave you alone" he also requested Michael give Brandon (who has passed away) a hug. His daughter, Paris, came on to tell me he was the best Dad and thanked him and cried (if nothing else gets you this will). Then Marlin said goodbye and the casket was wheeled out.
The entire Jackson family was there with the men all wearing one glove.
Stevie Wonder was of course amazing, Sharpton was moving and talked about all the color barriers that Jackson brought down and how he never quit [to his detriment I think], Lee spoke of politics and making a difference like MJ did, and couldn't resist throwing in "innocent until proven guilty," and she and many others talked about his good works, and hospital visits, and charity work, and that MJ will be honored as a world humanitarian by the House. But no one seemed to see as incredibly genuine as Brooke Shields. I have never seen Shields really stop and appear to really really connect with her experience and relate it so well. Just watching her in a completely different context is fascinating. I never expected to be teary eyed watching Brooke Shields (?!)
Some friends are saying that they're avoiding watching the service. I do such things as cultural literacy but I was completely sucked in as it's really moving and I realized I was watching something much much larger than a simple memorial service.
More info: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31772026