I have to admit when I tuned in to watch today’s memorial service for Michael Jackson, I was expecting to see a concert. I was expecting to see more of a freak show than a tribute to the musician. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised.
The service, on the whole, was dignified and poignant. It focused on the positives without being over the top ( even the $25K gold-plated casket ). It was filled with more music than talk and more singing than speeches. Other than Al Sharpton who somehow connected Jackson’s breakthrough on MTV 28 years ago to helping Barack Obama becoming President of the United States ( a bit of stretch as far as I am concerned ), I thought it was fairly normal.
All that being said, it wasn’t until the end that I finally realized that someone had died.
Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris: For me, her words made it real.
I’m serious. I saw the “celebrity” grief, complete with matching sequined gloves and all the family members wearing sunglasses – indoors. I saw Brooke Shields cry and Jermaine Jackson hold back emotional as he sang, but I never sensed any real grief … until Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter spoke.
She was not wearing sunglasses. She wore her pain on her face for the whole world to see. She was simple. She was real. She was elegant. She was simply a daughter who had lost her father. No matter what you may think of the man, the molestation charges, the weirdness or the plastic surgery, there was one role he served that was indisputable. He was this young girl’s father … and this daughter was suddenly without a parent.
Frankly, that was all I needed to see to understand that someone had died. That made the whole Jackson thing real … at least for me. My only hope is that this girl finds some solace and comfort … and does not become the next sacrificial lamb for the tabloids.
Of course, I know better.