Evening vigil for Michael Jackson

July 7, 2009 8:38:57 PM PDT
Hastily planned as it was, it turned into a spontaneous celebration in memory of Michael Jackson at the theater Tuesday night. It was a moving tribute to a man many at the theater say transformed pop culture, paving the way for other African-Americans.

It was unmistakably a captivating, culture event.

"We are here for the person everybody knows we can make some noise for Michael Jackson!!"

In front of the Uptown Theater where the Jackson 5 first captivated a Philadelphia audience 40 years ago!

"I had the 1st front row to see Michael Jackson," said Linda Fortune.

"The talent he had, he was a genius, you know, the way he danced, I loved the way he danced," said Darlene Godwin.

Admittedly organizers say it was a hastily planned event but it still managed to attract an impressive crowd.

"And so while this was a spontaneous celebration of his life, I think people really are focusing on his accomplishments," said Aissia Richardson of the African-American United Fund.

"Michael Jackson was one of the pioneers that helped Black America get to where we are today," remarked Curtis Stokes.

Radio personality Thera Martin-Connelly notes:

"I want people to remember that Philadelphia was a very important part of the Michael Jackson family and the legacy of the Jackson 5."

And it was particularly moving when the crowd spontaneously broke out to sing one of Jackson's greatest hits, "I'll Be There."

"And we are the world, and we are here in Philadelphia missing him, CHEERS! We are the World, We are the world."

Self Describe Poet James Lemar says Michael Jackson may be gone, but will never be forgotten.

"We will miss Michael Jackson forever, but he will never leave our hearts."

Michael Jackson definitely left his mark in North Philadelphia. And while it was, at times, emotional for some, mostly, people smiled for all the joy he brought through his talents and music over so many years.

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