I’m half-deaf, my nose is sunburned, and my throat feels like sandpaper, but I’m still high on happiness following yesterday’s 52nd birthday celebration for Michael Jackson in Prospect Park. It was 95° in New York City (with zero cloud cover), which made standing in the middle of an open field for six hours akin to roasting in an oven, but no matter. The fun and joy of the day outweighed the unpleasantness of heat and sweat (and for me, that’s saying a lot).
An estimated 50,000 (!!!) people came out to celebrate together, making this year’s event even bigger and more successful than last year’s.
I have a huge amount of respect for Spike Lee as a filmmaker (including the three videos he made for MJ), and I’m so grateful that he’s put this massive—and FREE—party on for the past two years . . . and that he plans to continue to do it every year.
As he did last year, poet and performance artist Lemon Andersen delivered spoken-word pieces that honored both the legacy of the entire Jackson family and the wonder that is BROOKLYN.
This girl was so full of energy and confidence. She did a wicked air-guitar solo during "Beat It" that would’ve made Jennifer Batten proud.
DJ Spinna was amazing again this year. His knowledge and love of all eras of Michael’s career—with and without the Jackson 5—is what makes it possible to spend six hours listening to a single artist (with a small handful of associated acts thrown in) without getting bored.
AHHHHHHH!!! Snoop Dogg!!! (And yes, that’s Warren G behind Spike!) I love me some Snoop, and his appearance yesterday was a complete surprise. I like that the party is really about celebrating Michael’s music (as he recorded it, and not being performed by other artists), but a few minutes of Snoop droppin’ it like it’s hot never hurt anyone.
The Reverend Al Sharpton came out again this year to deliver a beautiful eulogy for Michael and to speak about the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. (No photos, as I was recording video.)
Lots more photos in my Flickr set. I can’t wait to do this all again next year. Happy birthday, Mike.
p.s. Check out Nubby Twiglet’s birthday tribute to MJ, too!
EDIT: Spike has posted a thank-you note on his site that nicely summarizes the day. Thank YOU, Spike!
EDIT #2: Here are a couple of clips from interviews with Snoop and Reverend Al. If you watch carefully, you’ll see me and my camera all hot and sweaty in the front row . . .