Yesterday, millions of people watched the Michael Jackson memorial—whether at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, at screenings around the country (including a few in NYC), or online. One woman in Times Square told the Post, "It's such a sad day, but it's nice to be with people who feel like I do," while another said, "This is like someone in my family has died. I've just been a wreck all week. I can't stop shaking." And the Reverend Al Sharpton delivered strong words at the memorial in L.A., telling Jackson's children, "There weren't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with but he dealt with it," which brought Sharpton a standing ovation.
Sharpton also conjured Jackson's cultural significance, "It was Michael Jackson that brought blacks and whites and Asians and Latinos together. It was Michael Jackson that made us sing ‘we are the world.'...It was that comfort level that kids from Japan and Ghana and France and Iowa and Pennsylvania got comfortable enough with each other so later it wasn't strange to us to watch Oprah on television. Those young kids grew up from being teenage comfortable fans of Michael to being 40 years old and being comfortable to vote for a person of color to be the president of the United States of America." Here's video:
Of course, the most-mentioned moment was when Jackson's daughter, Paris Katherine Jackson, tearfully spoke at the end of the tribute to say how much she loved her father (video after the jump). The Daily News' Michael Daly was moved, "After a week of spectacle, this courageous little girl had presented us with a moment of immaculate truth." However, the Post's Andrea Peyser writes, "At the end, Michael's daughter, Paris Michael Katherine, cried, unveiled, 'I just wanted to say I love him so much!' It was too terrible for words. The freak show has casualties."