Yesterday I was watching CNN and Poppy Harlow was interviewing CNN writer/producer John Blake. Mr. Blake returned to his West Baltimore neighborhood after the recent riots. He wrote an excellent article titled Lord of the Flies Comes To Baltimore. Lord of the Flies was written in 1954 and tells the story of a group of young boys plane-wrecked on a deserted island. These young men try to govern themselves without any adult guidance. When Mr. Blake returned to his West Baltimore neighborhood he felt like Lord of the Flies had taken over his old neighborhood.
Baltimore, Maryland (CNN)He was a quiet man who once stood watch on his front porch, just three blocks away from where a riot erupted in West Baltimore this week.
We called him “Mr. Shields” because no one dared use his first name. He’d step onto his porch at night in plaid shorts and black knit dress socks to watch the Baltimore Orioles play on his portable television set.
He was a steelworker, but he looked debonair: thin mustache always trimmed; wavy salt-and-pepper hair touched up with pomade; cocoa brown skin. He sat like a sentry, watching not just the games but the neighborhood as well.
I knew Mr. Shields’ routine because I was his neighbor. I grew up in the West Baltimore community that was rocked this week by protests over the death of a young black man in police custody.
It’s surreal to see your old neighborhood go up in flames as commentators try to explain the rage with various complex racial and legal theories. But when I returned to my home this week, the rage made sense to me. There were no more Mr. Shields — the older black men were gone.
Read the entire article here at CNN.com.
Michael Jackson was laid to rest last Thursday evening at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale, CA. The private funeral was attended by 200 family members and close friends.
On a hot evening at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, friends and family say farewell to the pop singer.
By Carla Hall and Chris Lee
In a tree-lined clearing of Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale, about 200 of Michael Jackson’s family and friends gathered for the final leg of the pop singer’s odyssey from death to interment on a hot Thursday evening exactly 10 weeks after he was found dead.
The service, scheduled for sunset, became a nighttime gathering as guests awaited the late arrival of Jackson’s family. They were ferried through the park’s towering gates in a fleet of luxury cars and took their places in the front row of white folding chairs.
The Jackson brothers, in black suits and red ties, filed past a portrait of Michael, a confident smile on his face. His children made their way to their seats. A bespectacled Paris Jackson, his young daughter, wearing a dark dress and her long hair pulled back in a ponytail, watched soberly.
Jackson’s children placed a crown on their father’s coffin — a nod to his moniker, the King of Pop. Gladys Knight sang the gospel hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and songwriter Clifton Davis sang a tune he penned for the Jackson 5 that became one of their signature songs — “Never Can Say Goodbye.”
Check out the entire article here.
They claimed that the funeral was gonna be private yet CNN had coverage of folks arriving at the funeral. The feed was eventually cut off before the funeral started.
Speaking of CNN, I found a transcript for LKL (Larry King Live) from Thursday’s show. Larry interviewed one of Michael’s long time friends Steve Manning. Steve is featured in Ebony Magazine’s September 2009 issue with Michael on the cover. According to Ebony Magazine Steve started out in 1970 as president of the Jackson 5 fan club and later became the group’s publicist at Epic Records. The Jackson family consider him a member of the family and Michael called him “brother.”
Larry asked Steve if he will be writing a book about Michael and Steve said yes:
MANNING: Yes, I am, Larry. Yes.
KING: What angle?
MANNING: Well, the people don’t know him. I mean they’ve never — the real Michael Jackson — the Michael Jackson nobody knows. He was very misunderstood. He felt that people didn’t understand him. I’ve known him for 40 years.
KING: What was his biggest weakness?
MANNING: Being kind, being trusting to you…
KING: Too kind?
MANNING: Yes. Absolutely, yes. And I’ll tell you something, he also often wondered, he just had a great faith. That song there was influenced by Mahalia Jackson (ph), the late Robert Johnson and Bob Johnson — I mean, the Johnson publication people…
If there is anyone who knows the real Michael Jackson it’s probably Steve Manning. That should be one interesting book if he does write one.
I watched the Michael Jackson Memorial today on CNN.
What a beautiful tribute to a very talented man. I recorded the show on my vcr (yes I still own one) and my dvr.
I wasn’t brave enough to watch BET’s so called tribute last week but I heard and read that it was a disaster. So glad my eyes didn’t have to suffer through that fiasco.
Today’s memorial was a joy to watch. I enjoyed every performance. Now that was some real talent. I had to grab my box of kleenex and boy did I use it. Many times during the show I cried like a baby. Michael had quite an effect on everyone he met. From Lionel Richie and Berry Gordy to Smokey Robinson and Brooke Shields. Lionel Richie singing Jesus Is Love (haven’t heard that song in years), Jennifer Hudson singing You Will Be There and John Mayer performing Human Nature. I just sat there mesmerized by everyone that stepped on that stage. I lost it too. Listening to Jermaine Jackson singing Smile after Brooke spoke and seeing Michael’s daughter Paris speaking at the end had me in tears.
I can’t remember the last time I cried so much watching something on television.
My prayers go out to the entire Jackson family.
Thank you to Katherine and Joe Jackson for bringing Michael into the world so we could all enjoy his talent. He’s now resting in peace but his music will live on forever.
By Lisa De Moraes and Ashley Surdin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 7:14 PM
The world capital of excess said goodbye to the King of Pop in a public memorial service choked with celebrities and tear-welling moments that was broadcast live from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles and streamed around the globe.
Hollywood stars joined family, friends and fans from across the nation in bidding farewell to Jackson that featured emotional tributes to the man they hailed as the world’s greatest entertainer.
The star-studded extravaganza at the Staples Center followed a private funeral service attended by Jackson’s family and friends at a Hollywood Hills cemetery this morning.
Pastor Lucious W. Smith of the Friendship Baptist Church in Pasadena gave the invocation, followed by Mariah Carey singing the opening number with a sweet rendition of the Jackson 5 ballad “I’ll Be There,” in a duet with Trey Lorenz.
Among those who feted Jackson were Motown founder Berry Gordy, the Rev. Al Sharpton and NBA greats Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant. The memorial opened with Motown great Smokey Robinson stumbling through letters of condolence from singing legend Diana Ross and former South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Then, as a gospel choir began to sing and the golden casket containing Jackson’s body was brought into the arena and about 18,000 stood up and were silent No more crying, we are going to see the king A concert worker’s eyes filled with tears. “Oh my God, it’s him!” said a woman in the audience.
“We Love You, Michael!” another woman called out, to cheers and applause.
The Carey/Lorenz performance was followed by Stevie Wonder, who performed “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer.” “This is a moment that I wished I did not live to see come,” Wonder said.
Other musicians who participated included Lionel Richie, performed “Jesus Is Love,” a pregnant Jennifer Hudson singing “Will You Be There,” and Usher, who sang “Gone Too Soon” as he walked over to rest his hand on Jackson’s casket.
“He did have two personalities,” Gordy told the assemblage.
“Offstage, he was shy, soft-spoken and childlike,” Gordy continued. “But when he took the stage in front of his screaming fans, he turned into another person — a master, a take-no-prisoners showman. It was like kill or be killed. . . . King of Pop is not big enough for him; I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”
“I never thought I’d live to see him be gone,” said Robinson, returning to the stage to tell about how Jackson outsang him on his own tune “Who’s Lovin’ You.” After that, 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi — who finished seventh this past season on “Britain’s Got Talent” and sang “Who’s Lovin’ You” in the competition — came out to sing that tune. Jackson had invited Jafargholi to perform in his upcoming London concert series.
Check out the entire article about the memorial at the Washington Post.