M.J. Honored in Star-Studded Tribute

Michael Jackson's memorial preempts cable news coverage of the sham Iranian presidential election, closes freeways, and brings out a ton of stars to pay tribute.

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July 07 2009 12:00 AM ET

Check out our Twitter coverage of the Michael Jackson Memorial Tribute.

This much, we now know:

There is perhaps only one person among the 6.8 billion of us whose death preempts cable news coverage of the sham Iranian presidential election, whose funeral procession can close three of the world's busiest freeways, and who can turn Los Angeles -- a city where it's hard to learn a good lesson and easy to forget that race still deeply divides its 3.8 million inhabitants -- into a momentary monolith, one now ready to get on with things.

The life and music of Michael Jackson were honored Tuesday in a public memorial that failed to draw curious crowds in the hundreds of thousands as estimated by some, yet delivered in its stirring eulogies and musical tributes from multiple generations of pop legends. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, and others paid their respects to Jackson's gold-plated casket, adorned with a mountain of red roses.

It's still unclear where the late entertainer will be buried. Jackson family members left the arena for a private service in Beverly Hills shortly after final musical tributes that included both "We Are the World" and "Heal the World."

"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," said Queen Latifah, reading a poem about Jackson recently written by poet Maya Angelou. "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."

A near-capacity Staples Center audience alternated between laughter, abject grief, and a collective compulsion to record the entire event with an army of cell phone cameras. In contrast to the chaos and hysteria that historically accompanied many of Jackson's enormous concerts, there were no immediate reports of misconduct during or after the event. Ambulance stretchers positioned at arena exits remained empty.

Tags: Music

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