Sunday

BET Awards Show Quickly "Overhauled" for Michael Jackson Tribute


Michael Jackson wearing his famous one rhinestone glove, which influences Beyonce to do a one-gloved rendition of Single Ladies in concert
It may not be adequately acknowledged, but the annually televised BET Awards Show is consistently the best televised music extravaganza in the business. Luckily, it just happens that tonight's BET Awards was already scheduled to air -- as it does each June during Black Music Month, long before the untimely death of Michael Jackson.


Sister station CNN has exclusive red carpet rights - a first and well-deserved spotlight for many reasons...

I imagined that BET would have enough time to create a knock-out Michael Jackson video module and even have some of the scheduled stars drop everything that'd been rehearsing and perform a thriller Michael Jackson medley. But according to reports, BET chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee felt her team had sufficient time to dwarf the minimum "must do "expectation. It sounds as though BET's Lee & Company are making something of a musical miracle happen on the third day of Michael's death.

According to the Jackson's influence gets spotlight at BET Awards by the Washington Post, Debra Lee ordered a "total overhaul" of tonight's always amazing BET Awards Show. Not only will an enormous chunk of tonight's BET Awards be dedicated to celebrating the life and contributions of Michael Jackson, an extra 30 minutes has been added to that televised event.

Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Chris Brown are but a few of the stars hitting the stage tonight at the BET  Awards to participate in a multi-hour special tribute to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop
I'd heard yesterday that Beyonce and Jay-Z would be doing something super hot and special tonight, paying homage to MJ. Beyonce, who performed in concert as Sasha Fierce last night in Philadelphia, is said to have used her stage to share her remembrances of Michael -- how she mimics his fashion style and even felt the heavy of an overbearing stage father.

Access Hollywood even offers this exclusive story: Chris Brown Returning to State for BET Awards Michael Jackson Tribute. You probably know that Michael Jackson in an interview once cited Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake as the two entertainers he felt had the talent to wear his crown as King of Pop. So it's meaningful that recent events have been put aside for the moment so that Chris Brown can participate in the awards show tonight.

And yes, Rihanna reportedly will be there. (Does this mean that Rihanna will be breaking the law by being in the same auditorium as Chris Brown?)

It's hard to imagine that BET can top it's own show the year they paid tribute to James Brown. The Godfather of Soul (and everyone watching) was surprised and thrilled when Michael Jackson suddenly appeared on stage, making tearful remarks about Brown's influence on him.

That was one of the absolute best moments in music awards history, and it of course was made doubly so by the King of Pop's presence. To keep this on an uplifted note, it'll be grand to see what I imagine will be multiple generations of music talent on stage together tonight -- throughout the night -- all there standing in the shadow and love of Michael Joseph Jackson. A little boy from Gary, Indiana, who came, saw, conquered and left this world too soon.

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Thursday

Michael Jackson | Videos | Tears | Memories


Michael Jackson dies at age 50 in Los Angeles of cardiac arrest. The world is stunned, fans can't stop crying...
Most of the world is in shock and mourning the death of music legend Michael Jackson, who died June 25, 2009, of cardiac arrest. Those who were in any way remotely involved with Michael Jackson are bombarding the airwaves with remembrances, recounting moments of having breathed the same air as The Gloved One, for better or for worse...

It feels almost prescient now, my Michael Jackson moment three days ago. I was in a supermarket, searching for cooking vermouth, when the vintage Jackson Five 1970 hit "The Love You Save" suddenly filled the air. And there I was, zoomed way back in time and singing along with Michael more loudly than was appropriate. I had FUN singing while pushing my cart; I knew every word.

I'd made a weird but powerfully sweet, momentary connection with my childhood -- and Michael's. In a way, it was almost the sheer high -- the joy and jubilation -- that people feel when they're lifted by the spirit in church... Very strange. Nothing like that's ever happened to me before -- and certainly not in a grocery store.

And then yesterday came: Michael Jackson died. Poof! No: Not Michael...? A huge chunk of so many people's childhood has been SHOOK... Our feet haven't touched the ground yet on hearing this news.


But despite the shock and sadness, something beautiful is occuring. Suddenly, the whole world is having the same kind of powerful Jackson 5 moment I experienced the other day -- throngs of J5 fans are being whisked away by Michael's melodious voice to a more innocent time... feeling pure joy and completely forgetting (for about 3 minutes) everything that may be troubling us today.

Neverland is now: The magic of this genius man-child will never die.

I no longer have my childhood scrapbook filled with big Afro-wearing Jackson cuties... images ripped from fan magazines like Right On! and Tiger Beat. But I hope this video tribute to Michael Jackson gives you a sense of the intense pride and admiration that African Americans felt for Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 decades before he became a worldwide hearthrob.

Thank you, Michael Joseph Jackson. Love always from a fan from the very beginning.














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Tuesday

President Barack Obama - A Grand Day In History


America's new First family includes President Barack Obama; Michelle Obama wearing a gold ensemble by fashion designer Isabel Toledo; and Obama daughters Malia and Sasha, both wearing J. Crew
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, two Chicago residents who've ascended to the White House
"At last," as Beyonce sang at the Neighborhood Ball. The Obamas are in there! President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha were a beautiful sight to behold at the swearing-in ceremony. What a handsome family, and so well-clad. The only sight rivaling their shimmering aura was the throngs of supporters -- the millions from around the country and world -- who descended on Washington for Obama's auspicious occasion.

So many memorable highlights today. Among them:

~ My thinking that Obama had flubbed that line while taking oath, only to learn that he'd been quite on point. It was Chief Justice John Roberts who was in err, giving Obama the line wrong.

~ George Bush emerging from the Capitol Building wearing an expression of controlled fear. Eyes suspciously jutting left and right as if on shoe-toss alert. "I gave it my all," an emotional former President Bush told the Midland, Texas, crowd that welcomed him back home today.

~ Michelle Obama wearing a stunning gold ensemble by former Anne Klein creative chief Isabel Toledo. Robin Givhan has dubbed Michelle Obama the First Lady of Style. (I would add "and Killer Eyelashes.")

~ Senator Ted Kennedy taking ill during the Congressional luncheon, lapsing into what's been reported as a "violent seizure." President Obama was among the first to rush to Kennedy's side, said CNN reporter Dana Bash. The revered senator was rushed to Washington Hospital and is said to be doing better now, thankfully.

~ A bevy of Hollywood and music industry stars in attendance and/or participating all day and into the night, from Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington and Aretha Franklin to Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce.

The Obamas enjoy their first official dance at the Neighborhood Ball, while Beyonce sang At Last from the movie Cadillac Records, a song made popular by Etta James. Mr. President wore Versace, the First Lady wore a white Narcisco Rodriguez ball gown
If this was our nation's wedding day to hope for the future with Obama, tomorrow begins what hopefully will be a nice, long honeymoon. Only time will tell.

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Monday

Dr. Martin Luther King Tribute on Obama Inauguration Eve


In 2006, I blogged about a troubling trend I discovered regarding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The essay, Martin Luther King: A Dream Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, tells how I was startled into awareness that there are childen who are clueless about why they have this day off from school, because of Dr. King.

The story centers on my being told by a blinged-out Chicago kid that Dr. King was a basketball player... that Dr. King's basketball skills had merited a nationwide tribute each year. So this blog post is dedicated to the childen of today and the future. If you are reading this in the year 2020 or 2050 or 3000, please imagine this...

Tomorrow, the United States will officially swear-in its first man of color as president: Barack Obama. It shouldn't matter, the color of his skin, but it has mattered greatly to many people for hundreds of years. And no one helped our nation understand this better than civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sadly, Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 for so effectively assuring the descendants of slaves of their God-given right to treatment and opportunities equal to any other hard-working American. For his non-violent approach to leading such a movement, Dr. King had even received the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Countless people died and sacrificed to make tomorrow -- January 20, 2009 -- a noteworthy day on planet Earth. Had it not been for Dr. King's commitment to seeing fair treatment and opportunities for Americans of every ethnicity, it is highly unlikely that tomorrow we'd be seeing a handsome brown man named Barack Obama become President of the United States of America.

But Barack Obama is but one man of color who has achieved mightly. What Dr. King lived and died for was a dream of so much more for all people, for America.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute
In the Name of Love by U2 inauguration video remix



I Have a Dream by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Video)



Songs of Slavery (Video)



A More Perfect Union
Barack Obama Philadelphia Speech on Race & Rev. Wright (Video)



Yes We Can Can by Pointer Sister (Barack Obama slogan video montage)



America the Beautiful by Beyonce closing HBO Inauguration Concert (Video)



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