Even Calbuzz was moved when 11-year-old Paris Katherine Jackson took the microphone to tell the world that Michael had been a wonderful father and that she loved him dearly, which you can watch here on TMZ.
That was the emotional high point of the MJ Tribute, for sure. The political high points were two: the Rev. Al Sharpton’s observation that Jackson was instrumental in breaking the color barrier and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s insistence on the presumption of innocence.
Sharpton’s great line: “He put on one glove, pulled his pants up and broke down the color curtain.”
The Rev was suggesting that even before Oprah, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama, Michael Jackson was an international crossover phenom of great significance, linking nationalities, ethnic groups and cultures through his extraordinary musical talent.
And then, turning to the MJ’s kids, Sharpton said, “There wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what he had to deal with.”
That’s not true, of course. There was a lot strange about Michael Jackson. But it was a nice thing to say to his kids. And it’s also clear that to huge numbers of people around the world — and especially in the black community — Jackson’s life is an inspiration and his music is iconic. Whether he is, as Berry Gordy pronounced him, “the greatest entertainer of all time,” is a judgment for the history books – not mere political hacks. But it’s certainly arguable.
The other political moment of note: the defiant (and way too long) speech from Rep. Lee of Texas, taking aim at her colleague Rep. Peter King of New York, who had called Jacko a “pervert,” “child molester,” and “pedophile.” Lee sharply noted that under the U.S. Constitution one is considered innocent until proven guilty (which Jackson was not) and she presented a resolution from Congress memorializing MJ as a great entertainer.
Why it matters? Because it is further evidence that having one black family living in public housing in Washington has not eradicated the racial divide in America. The black community’s spontaneous rally in defense of Michael Jackson against presumptions – expressed mostly by white politicians, commentators and comedians (with some notable exceptions like Chris Rock) — that Jackson was an unconvicted pederast, is just another measure of the divide.
When you get Queen Latifa, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Jennifer Hudson, Berry Gordy, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Bernice King, Martin Luther King III and Usher singing praises to the life of one man, it’s clear that those who would argue otherwise are wading into racially-charged territory.
Skunk Note: Over at Fox News, Geraldo Rivera had a few choice words for many of the celebrities at the Staples Center:
“The vast majority of the people in that hall,” Geraldo said, “and certainly ninety nine percent of the celebrities who have come to this memorial did not stand anywhere near Michael Jackson during the years he was accused of those horrible crimes, and they didn’t say, ‘We believe him innocent, they didn’t say let the case go where it may, let the facts prove innocence or guilt.’ They just disappeared, and now they have resurfaced to celebrate his life.”