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Motown boss cites Michael Jackson’s “questionable decisions” at memorial

By Dean Goodman
July 7, 2009

As Michael Jackson’s coffin was wheeled in to the Staples Center about 10:30 a.m. by his brothers wearing matching suits and sequined gloves, the Andrae Crouch Choir set the scene with the gospel tune “Soon and Very Soon.”jackoberAfter introductory remarks by family friend, the Rev. Lucious Smith, who said, “He is never really gone at all,” Mariah Carey took the stage to sing the Jackson 5 hit “I’ll Be There” with help from Trey Lorenz.10:50 a.m.: Lionel Richie performs the Commodores tune “Jesus is Love.”10:54 a.m.: Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. delivers a light-hearted nostalgic speech, saying Jackson was “like a son to me.” He says Jackson made some “questionable decisions” but “accomplished everything he dreamed of.”11:03 a.m.: A video montagejackostev11:07 a.m.: Stevie Wonder is escorted to the piano. “This is a moment that I wished that I didn’t live to see come … but God must have needed him much more.” He performs “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” and “They Won’t Go When I Go.”11:15 a.m. Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson speak. The latter notably omits Jackson’s father, Joe, in referring to the wonderful family that will embrace Jackson’s three children.11:21: Jennifer Hudson performs “Will You Be There” with audio footage from Jackson.11:25: The Rev. Al Sharpton credits Jackson for eradicating racial barriers, drawing attention to world hunger and for the election of President Barack Obama. “Wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy,” he said in remarks directed to his children. “It was strange what your daddy had to deal with … but he dealt with it anyway.”jackomayer11:33 a.m.: Guitarist John Mayer, the only white performer to date and who also shares a publicist with the Jackson family, performs an instrumental version of “Human Nature.”11:39 a.m.: A tearful Brooke Shields says “we were two little kids having fun,” as she recounts their youthful pranks. “He was often referred to as the king, but the Michael that I knew always reminded me more of ‘The Little Prince,’” and she quoted a passage from the Antoine De Saint-Exupery children’s classic.11:48 a.m.: Jermaine Jackson sings what Shields says was his brother’s favorite song, “Smile,” from the Charlie Chaplin film “Modern Times.”11:52 a.m.: Martin Luther King III and Bernice King, children of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., take the stage. Bernice says that even while Jackson was being dogged by “persecutions and accusations” he took the time to call their ailing mother, Coretta, in October 2005. “My only wish is that he could have seen the glow on her face.”11:59 a.m.: Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee recounts the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. “I call Michael Jackson the Good Samaritan. I call him Michael Jackson who cared and loved for the world.”jackoush12:07 p.m.: Usher performs Jackson’s “Gone Too Soon,” stares at the coffin, breaks down and removes his ever-present sunglasses. He is quickly hugged by the Jackson family.12:12 p.m.: Video footage of the Jackson 5 singing “Who’s Loving You.”12:13 p.m. Smokey Robinson: “I wrote that song!” He looks at the coffin. “He’s my little brother over there.”12: 18 p.m.: Shaheen Jafargholi, a finalist on Britain’s Got Talent, sings “Who’s Loving You.”12:22 p.m.: Jackson choreographer Kenny Ortega explains Jafargholi’s presence: He would have performed with Jackson during the planned comeback shows in London.12:24 p.m.: Shades of Live Aid ’85 in Philadelphia. An all-star version of ”We are the World,” with the speakers, performers and the Jackson family taking to the stage. LaToya Jackson — her face is concealed under a massive LaBelle-style hat — clutches her brother’s children. One of them is chewing gum.12:29 p.m.: “Heal the World” follows. Gordy clenches his right fist. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is in a trance-like state.12:34 p.m.: Jermaine Jackson thanks everyone for coming out, says he is lost for words. Marlon Jackson recalls the days they used to watch The Three Stooges. “We will never understand what he endured … Being judged, ridiculed. How much pain can one take? Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone.”jackopar112:40 p.m.: In what may be the first time the public has heard her speak. Paris, 11, tearfully says: “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine, and I just want to say I love him so much.” She immediately was embraced by Janet Jackson, sporting a black beret.12:42 p.m. The coffin is carried out.12:49 p.m.: The worldwide TV feed ends with a reminder that concert promoter AEG Live owns the copyright to the broadcast.


People will read what they want into Barry Gordy’s statement, but I think he’s just talking about regular business decisions. Or even things like having a zoo or a chimp around all the time. Who knows? And who really cares? I’ll always love Michael Jackson. He’ll always be remembered and very much missed.

Posted by Vegas | Report as abusive

I watched the tribute, and it was an awesome experience. I use to kiss his poster every night before going to bed, and wanted to marry him. He will always be remembered. It was touching to really see him as a human being, it was touching when Paris spoke. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

Posted by Janie | Report as abusive

Praise God that the wonderful, talented, man, Michael J. Jackson, spent his life promoting love and peace around the world. My prayer is that he knew The Wonderful, Prince of Peace, and many lives were brought to The Light in celebrating Mr. Jackson’s life.

Posted by Bethany M.W. | Report as abusive

I suppose that everyone has freedom of speech to say whatsoever they consider….but I actually imagine that in a distressing moment like this to at least demonstrate a humble respect to the relatives of M.J. and to all of us his fans. I do visualize that all hatred and prejudice ought to be reserved and not to be placed in such a heartbreaking sorrowful time when a human being passes away… Michael was misunderstood!……He was an individual with feelings like each and every one of us!….Those that write so many spiteful things about him perhaps in the midst of them are siblings even more worse than what they say M.J. was. Come on people u all know better than this, u all have relatives and they will all depart this life as well as u and I too one day. I also recognize that if one of your family members passes away obviously you wouldn’t want to hear or read demoralizing things about them either….. We all are humans here, we have intelligence to recognize what is considerate or not! So why can’t u keep out your awful comments to urselves in a heartbreaking moment like this? Please consider that he has children and families like the rest of us do…..NO INDIVIDUAL IN THIS WORLD OUGHT TO BE JUDGED BY ANYONE!!……. ONLY GOD OR A JUDGE AS LONG AS IT IS A COURT MANNER….PLUS NO ONE… NOT EVEN I CAN BE CAPABLE TO FLING THE FIRST STONE TO ANY INDIVIDUAL IN THIS WORLD… EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US HAS HAD OR STILL HAVE OUR PERSONAL INTERNAL DEMONS AS WELL….TAKE A LOOK AT URSELVES AND THEN JUDGE IF U CAN BE ABLE TO… BEAR IN MIND THAT AMONG OUR FAMILIES THERE CAN BE HIDIING A RAPIST, CRIMIINAL, OR EVEN A CHILD MOLESTER!IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING PLEASANT TO SAY ABOUT HIM THEN KEEP IT TO URSELVES. IN DUE RESPECT TO ALL OF HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS AND FANS.My heart goes to all his family. Relatives and fans of Michael Jackson, keep in mind that our instant on earth is partial, we do not appear here to stay for ever, we all have our moment in time set to depart, and when God say it is time, we can’t stay any longer. We all can see how he died; M.J.didn’t had an agonizing and brutal demise. Would u like to know why? It was because he was taken away. God chose to snatch him away from all his sufferings; away from terrible people, he was suffering a great deal in this mean, ignorant and stupid world. God required him… Now he is resting in the arms of the Lord and in peace. Bad people lives do not end like that…Rest peacefully my beloved Michael Jackson, you will by no means be forgotten ur legacy will live on and on…..St. Croix US Virgin Island will miss you! R.I.P. Sweetheart, you were and always will be my sweetheart.

Posted by Olga | Report as abusive

i love michael jackson he really was the king of popi will miss him and my heart go out to him kids

Posted by kelli | Report as abusive

On a webcast, I saw Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, say a few words about her father. She says “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” she said, her tiny voice cracking. “And I just wanted to say I love him — so much”. It was so heartbreaking so say the least. It is going to be hard for the kids without their father.signedlove

Posted by love | Report as abusive

Of all of the things to quote from the memorial in your title above, you picked “questionable decisions? by Barry Gordy? A fart in the wind comment that was the least of importance in Gordys whole speech..Great reporting! I was at the memorial, why dont you quote Rev. Al Sharpton when he said to the kids “There was nothing strange about your daddy, whats strange is what he had to deal with!”There were far more intense moments in the memorial and it was absolutely heartbreaking and emotional as well as entertaining and celebratory…I wouldnt have sold my ticket for a million dollars, that was a once in a lifetime experience..

Posted by Melissa Garrison | Report as abusive

Let him and his family rest.. May God watch over you all. You will always be the king, you have given so much hope to everyone, at a sacrifice to yourself… You are truly a guardian angel RIP

Posted by claudia | Report as abusive

Let’s see……, as if the hedonistic, manifold narcissism, bizarre conduct wasn’t enough……., the guy lived with simians, slept with children for Christ’s sake.Then, his “caring” and “loving” “family” and “friends” just sat around while he’s a drug addict who shot up to the point he basically had no hair (I won’t mention the schnoz)……….., and this is acceptable?What about the $25.00 admission fee for the “free” ticket holders in the stadium? God, I could go on but there isn’t enough Pepto Bismol, Tums and Dramamine.Get me off this insane planet!

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Jermaine Jackson’s performance of Smile was electric, very impressive and saying more than words could ever do.


Many people don’t know this but I’ll be the first to tell you. Mariah Carey was very stressed during this time because she had just received news that her pastor Bishop Clarence V. Keaton had passed away. Bishop Keaton performed her wedding ceremony, appeared with her on GMA, and the “06 Grammy Awards.

Posted by Jay Brown Sr. | Report as abusive

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