Mariah Carey kicked off the memorial service for Michael Jackson today, singing "I'll Be There," as the singer's body lay in a golden casket, covered in red flowers, at the foot of the stage at the Staples Center. And his 11-year-old daughter got in the last word with a tearful tribute to her dad. Among the speakers and performers:
- Queen Latifah eulogized Jackson as a friend and inspiration who opened up the world to many African Americans, including herself.
- Barry Gordy said the honorific King of Pop wasn't big enough for Michael, calling him instead "simply the greatest entertainer of all time."
- Stevie Wonder opened by saying "This is a moment I wish I didn't live to see coming."
- "I truly believe Michael Jackson made me a better point guard,'' said Magic Johnson," by being the greatest entertainer ever."
- The Rev. Al Sharpton, who said he came not to mourn but to thank Jackson for all he gave, drew an ovation when he said to the singer's children: "There was nothin' strange about your daddy. What was strange was what your daddy had to deal with."
- Jennifer Hudson sang "Will You Be There" from Dangerous.
- Brooke Shields recalled her friendship with Jackson and how she teased him in his heyday: "What's up with the glove?"
- The music ended with all the gathered stars singing "We Are the World."
- Jackson's daughter Paris, surrounded by her extended family, dissolved in tears as she said, "Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say, I love him so much."