The music world, the Jackson family and thousands of fans bade farewell to the Michael Jackson on on July 7 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder and Usher led an emotional public memorial for the “King of Pop”.
The two-hour memorial focused on Jackson’s 45-year music career, his charity work for childrens’ groups and his role in opening the mainstream pop and celebrity world up to African-Americans.
Jackson’s brothers, each wearing a single sequined glove in homage to Jackson’s signature look, carried the singer’s gold-trimmed casket into the Staples Center sports arena, where Jackson had rehearsed the day before his death for a series of comeback concerts.
Carey performed Jackson’s 1970 ballad “I’ll Be There” and singer Smokey Robinson read out tributes from former South African president Nelson Mandela and singer Diana Ross.
Jackson’s sudden death from cardiac arrest in Los Angeles on June 25 at the age of 50 prompted a worldwide outpouring of grief and sent sales of his biggest hits back to the top of the music charts.
The list of guests to the Public Memorial Service included Larry King, Dionne Warwick, LeVar Burton, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipe, Lou Ferrigno, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Lionel Richi, Brooke Shields, Mariah Carey, Kobe Bryant, Berry Gordy, Jennifer Hudson, Magic Johnson, John Mayer, The Rev. Jesse Jackson, The Rev. Al Sharpton, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martin Luther King III, Bernice A. King, Shaheen Jafargholi, Pastor Lucious Smith and Ron Boyd.
During the Public Memorial Service, it was Michael Jackson himself who loomed larger than life over the 18,000-plus arena crowd, shown in old concert footage, music videos and news clips, singing, dancing his signature moonwalk and surrounded by adoring crowds.