Michael Jackson Tribute Memorial-Hitsville USA/Motown MuseumPhoto: Tafari Stevenson-Howard – Michael Jackson Memorial at Detroit’s Hitsville USA/Motown Museum

Like millions of others yesterday, I stopped my life’s goings on to take part in one of the biggest celebrations of life that we may ever see for our beloved and sometimes misunderstood Michael Jackson.

Watching the celebration online was totally surreal & I can only imagine what the energy inside the Staple Center must have been like.

I was moved many times almost to tears but I stayed strong plus, I did not want to be all crying in public. I do have a rep to maintain.

Anyway, the point I almost lost it for the first time was when my boo Queen Latifah read Maya Angelou’s poem “We Had Him”

“Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.”

Maya’s (like we’re on 1st name basis) words are always on point and right on time. Her words are magical & legendary!

While watching the event I Tweeted live & it was awesome sharing this experience with others in real time from across the globe. A few of my Tweets:

  • I’m sure the Staple Center will be filled with people just ready to jump into MJs casket. I hope they have it on lock down. #casketjumper
  • This service would be over the top if Aretha came out singing “Trouble of the World.” That would break all the way down. #imitationoflife
  • I’ll never forget when Lionel’s wife beat his ass. I haven’t cared for him since then. But I love the old music.
  • When are they gonna open the casket?
  • Al Sharpton either has a tapeworm or he got a gastric bypass. No matter what, he keeps it real & the perm is always fully coiffed & spritzed.
  • Lets be honest, we’ve never seen a Negro’s funeral run this smooth. NEVER!!!! Its almost unnatural.

You know me, it’s hard to stay serious when things are hectic. I have to resort to bullshitting.

So after work, I jumped in my car to head to Detroit to record the vibe at the Motown Museum/Hitsville USA. Have a look at my completed photojournal, which also includes photos from Harlem’s Apollo Theater. The pictures tell far more than I ever could.

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