You may not be there in person, but Michael Jackson’s memorial service is set to begin at the Staples Center in L.A. We’ll be sharing live updates all afternoon long.
As the all-star lineup including Mariah Carey, John Mayer, Usher and Jennifer Hudson honors the late music icon this afternoon, we’ll be posting updates throughout.
Oh, and we’d also like to express our gratitude to our men and women in uniform, along with the police and firefighters nationwide who keep our communities safe 365 days a year. See, Peter King? You can salute these heroes and MJ.
Let the orgy of glorification begin!
1:05 p.m. EST: Running out of things to talk about after 24-hour coverage for a week straight, CNN is debating whether Michael Jackson is considered a part of the black community, even if his children are white. Please, let the event start soon.
1:10 p.m. EST: Diana Ross’ son, Evan, arrived with girlfriend Cora Skinner. Random.
1:12 p.m. EST: Smokey Robinson is kicking off the event via sattelite, reading a letter from Ross, one of Jackson’s best friends, and to whom he named guardian of his children if his mother, Katherine, was unable to service in that capacity.
1:15 p.m. EST: A “moment of silence” has been going on for like three minutes.
1:19 p.m. EST: Images from around the U.S. of peeps watching on TV are shown.
1:21 p.m. EST: Security appears tight in downtown Los Angeles. CBS says it is on par with what was during the 1984 Olympics. Either way, this is hella boring.
1:22 p.m. EST: Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame is apparently directing this event. He says Jackson was “ready” and “optimistic” for his upcoming tour.
1:30 p.m. EST: NBC is analyzing his finances and debating whether Michael Jackson is worth more dead than alive. We are starting to see Peter King’s point.
1:34 p.m. EST: A gospel choir just turned in a terrific performance.
1:38 p.m. EST: Pastor Luscious Smith tells the crowd how Michael wanted nothing more than to share his love and soul with the world through music and deeds.
1:42 p.m. EST: Mariah Carey delivers a performance of “I’ll Be There,” a 1970 #1 hit for the Jackson 5, and that Carey remade into a hit of her own in 1992. Powerful.
1:47 p.m. EST: Queen Latifah pays tribute to Michael by reading a Maya Angelou poem called “We Had Him.” She also talked of idolizing Jackson while growing up.
1:50 p.m. EST: Lionel Richie performs “Jesus is Love.” Man, can he sing!
1:54 p.m. EST: Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, says that Michael Jackson not only raised the bar, he broke it. Berry says Michael was “like a son” to him, and after acknowledging his “sad times” and “questionable decisions,” called him the greatest entertainer who ever lived. Classy speech from start to finish.
2:06 p.m. EST: A video tribute to Jackson is broadcast. It’s great.
2:13 p.m. EST: Stevie Wonder sings “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer,” as the cameras show the Jackson brothers all wearing one white glove to honor Michael.
2:15 p.m. EST: Kobe Bryant is speaking. We just hit MUTE.
2:17 p.m. EST: Magic Johnson thanks MJ for opening up doors for African-Americans, and tearfully describes meeting the music legend as the best moment of his life.
2:21 p.m. EST: Jennifer Hudson covers Michael’s hit “Will You Be There.”
2:25 p.m. EST: The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks and credits Michael Jackson with everything from elevating the stature of African-American entertainers to getting Barack Obama elected president. Possibly a tiny bit of a stretch there.
2:41 p.m. EST: Brooke Shields laughs, cries, reflects and chokes up as she remembers her old, dear friend. Very heartfelt, sweet, sad and funny all at once.
2:48 p.m. EST: Michael’s brother Jermaine Jackson performs “Smile.”
2:55 p.m. EST: Martin Luther King III, son of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bernice King, MLK’s daughter, pay tribute to Jackson with a pair of moving speeches.
3:05 p.m. EST: Sheila Jackson-Lee, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, announces she is introducing a measure honoring MJ’s humanitarianism.
3:09 p.m. EST: Usher sings in honor of Jackson.
3:14 p.m. EST: Smokey Robinson speaks about Michael’s remarkable talent at such a young age, along with the youngster’s fearlessness and ambition.
3:19 p.m. EST: Probably not by accident, a budding child prodigy in his own right, Shaheen Jafargholi, brings the house down with “Who’s Lovin’ You.”
3:23 p.m. EST: Kenny Ortega presents a tribute to the fallen star.
3:26 p.m. EST: The Jackson brothers join together on stage for a stirring performance of “We Are the World,” the song Michael made famous back in the ’80s.
3:30 p.m. EST: Michael’s brother Marlon Jackson speaks while the rest of his brothers – and his children – stand together on stage to say an emotional farewell.
3:41 p.m. EST: In the most unexpected and touching moment of the event, Michael’s daughter Paris Jackson speaks and says Michael was the best father ever.