RIP, Michael: Songs, Memories of Michael Jackson Fill Staples Center - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

RIP, Michael: Songs, Memories of Michael Jackson Fill Staples Center

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- An 11-year-old girl who lost her father made the world cry with her Tuesday.

Paris Katherine Jackson -- the second of Michael Jackson's three children -- was surrounded by her grandmother, aunts, uncles and two brothers as she spoke tearfully at the conclusion of Jackson's public memorial.

"Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine, and I just want to say that I love him so much," she said.

The children, who often have been hidden by veils or blankets when seen with their father, were sitting in the front row at the Staples Center Tuesday as their father's life and music were remembered.

Jackson lay nearby in a closed, rose-draped, bronze casket in front of the stage.

His brothers, who served as pallbearers, wore single white sequined gloves, a tribute to their brother's signature glove of the 1980s.

Much of the talk about Jackson since his sudden death 12 days ago has focused on the investigation of drugs found in his home and the doctors who treated him, and there some allusions to the controversies were spoken on stage.

Brother Marlon said the world could not understand what Michael Jackson endured "being judged and ridiculed."

"How much pain can one man take?" Marlon Jackson asked.

"Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone," he said as he looked to his brother's casket.

The morning began with a half-hour "gathering" for several hundred family and friends inside a chapel at the Hollywood Hills' Forest Lawn cemetery.

Jackson's casket -- bronze with 14-karat gold-plate handles, according to the manufacturer -- was then placed in a hearse for a 10-mile motorcade to downtown Los Angeles, where it was brought into the arena.

Several of Jackson's older brothers carried the coffin to the front of the stage -- which resembled a church sanctuary with a stained-glass backdrop -- as the Andrae Crouch Choir sang the hymn "Soon and Very Soon."

Mariah Carey was joined by Trey Lorenz singing Jackson's signature "I'll Be there" as a montage of Jackson photographs appeared on arena screens.

Queen Latifah, saying she was on stage to represent "millions of fans inspired by Michael," said, "Michael was the biggest star on Earth."

Lionel Richie then performed the song "Jesus is Love."

Motown founder Berry Gordy recalled that when he auditioned the Jackson 5 in 1968, 10-year-old Michael was talented beyond his years.
"He was driven by his hunger to learn, to constantly top himself, to be the best. He was the consummate student. He studied the greats and became greater. He raised the bar and then broke the bar," Gordy said.

Gordy's appearance was followed by a video montage of Michael Jackson songs.

Stevie Wonder took the stage next, sitting at a keyboard.

"This is a moment that I wished that I didn't live to see come, but as much as I can say that and mean it, I do know that God is good," Wonder said. "And I do know that as much as we may feel, and (we) do, that we need Michael with us, God must have needed him more."

Wonder then delivered an emotional version of his 1971 song "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer."

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who spoke along with former Lakers legend Magic Johnson, said Michael Jackson set a world record for the "most charities supported by a pop star."

Johnson said he met Jackson when the singer was a season ticket holder for Los Angeles Lakers.

"I truly believe that Michael made me a better point guard and basketball player as I watched him be so great and be the greatest entertainer ever," Johnson said.

Jennifer Hudson, wearing a white maternity dress, sang "Will You Be There," a song recorded by Jackson in the early 1990s.

A recording of an emotional Michael Jackson reading the lyrics to the song were played over the music after Hudson sang.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said Jackson brought "blacks and whites and Asians and Latinos together."

"It was Michael Jackson who made us sing 'We are the World' and feed the hungry long before Live Aid," Sharpton said.

"Every time he got knocked down, he got back up," he said. "Every time you counted him out he came back in. Michael never stopped, Michael never stopped."

Sharpton got the loudest applause when he said he wanted Jackson's three children -- who were in the audience -- to know that there "wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what he had to deal with, but he dealt with it."

Singer John Mayer took center stage at one point, but not to sing. He played lead guitar on the song "Human Nature," which was on Jackson's "Thriller" album.

Actress Brooke Shields, 13 when she became close friends with Jackson, said they bonded "because we both understood what it was like to be in the spotlight from a very, very young age."

 "Both of us needed to be adults very early, but when we were together we were two little kids having fun," Shields said. 

"What we did do was laugh," she recounted. "It was always a competition to see who could make the other one laugh more or be sillier."

She said Jackson "loved to laugh" and that his "laugh was the sweetest and purest of anyone's I had ever known."

The service turned to tears, though, as Jackson's brother Jermaine sang "Smile," a favorite song of Michael's. After struggling not to cry through the song, Jermaine was hugged by his surviving brothers as he left the stage.

Two of Martin Luther King Jr.'s children -- Bernice King and Martin Luther King III -- stood together onstage to compare Jackson's impact on the world to their father's.

"He was indeed a shining light," Bernice King said. "May we all be inspired to go and let our lights shine."

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Texas Democrat, said she introduced a resolution in Congress to declare Michael Jackson "an American legend and musical icon."

Usher stood near Jackson's casket as he sang "Gone Too Soon," a song from Jackson's "Dangerous" album.

Near the end, Usher took off his sunglasses to reveal tears. The service became silent for a minute as Jackson family members converged on Usher with hugs.

Smokey Robinson joked about his reaction when 10-year-old Michael Jackson recorded a song Robinson had written.

 "I quickly went over to him, because I wanted to see his birth certificate," Robinson said. "I didn't believe that someone that young could have a lot of know. You have to have a lot of know to sing that song."

         Twelve-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi sang Jackson's "Who's Lovin' You." Jackson had invited the star from the "Britain's Got Talent" show to his planned London shows, according to show director Kenny Ortega.

The public memorial neared conclusion with stars and family members joining to sing "We are the World," a song co-written by Jackson and Lionel Richie.

Jackson's children sang along as they stood near their grandparents.

Before she left the stage, Paris Katherine Jackson came to the microphone and fought back tears to deliver her tribute to her father.

Then it was all over but the prayer -- which was delivered the Rev. Lucious Smith, a Los Angeles minister.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta
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