Madonna gave the best speech at VMA 2009
Michael Jackson was born in August, 1958. so was I. Michael Jackson grew up in the suburbs of the Midwest. So did I. Michael Jackson had eight brothers and sisters. So do I. When Michael Jackson was 6 he became a superstar and was perhaps the world’s most beloved child. When I was 6 my mother died. I think he got the shorter end of the stick.
“There is no question that Michael Jackson was one of the greatest talents the world has ever known. … That when he sang a song at the ripe old age of 8, he could make you feel like an experienced adult was squeezing your heart with his words. … That the way he moved had the elegance of Fred Astaire and packed the punch of Muhammad Ali. … That his music had an extra layer of inexplicable magic that didn’t just make you want to dance but actually made you believe that you could fly, dare to dream, be anything that you wanted to be. Because that is what heroes do. And Michael Jackson was a hero.
“He performed in soccer stadiums around the world, he sold hundreds of millions of records, he dined with prime ministers and presidents. Girls fell in love with him, boys fell in love with him, everyone wanted to dance like him, he seemed otherworldly, but he was also a human being. Like most performers, he was shy and plagued with insecurities.
“I can’t say we were great friends, but in 1991 I decided I wanted to get to know him better. I asked him out to dinner: I said, ‘My treat, I’ll drive, just you and me.’ He agreed and showed up to my house without any bodyguards. We drove to the restaurant in my car. It was dark out, but he was still wearing sunglasses. I said, ‘Michael, I feel like I’m talking to a limousine, do you think you could take off those glasses so I could see your eyes?’ He paused for a moment, then he tossed the glasses out the window, looked at me with a wink and a smile and said, ‘Can you see me now, is that better?’
“In that moment, I could see both his vulnerability and his charm. The rest of the dinner, I was hell-bent on getting him to eat French fries, drink wine, have dessert and say bad words, things he never seemed to allow himself to do. Later, we went back to my house to watch a movie and we sat on the couch like two kids, and somewhere in the middle of the film, his hand snuck over and held mine. It felt like he was looking for a friend more than a romance and I was happy to oblige him. And in that moment he didn’t feel like a superstar, he felt like a human being. We went out a few more times together and then for one reason or another we fell out of touch. Then, the witch hunt began and it seemed like one negative story after the other was coming out about Michael. I felt his pain. I know what it’s like to walk down the street and feel like the whole world has turned against you. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and unable to defend yourself because the roar of the lynch mob is so loud that you are convinced your voice can never be heard.
“But I had a childhood, and I was allowed to make mistakes and find my own way in the world without the glare of the spotlight. When I first heard that Michael had died I was in London, days away from the opening of my tour. Michael was going to perform in the same venue as me a week later. All I could think about in that moment was that I had abandoned him. That we had abandoned him. That we had allowed this magnificent creature that once set the world on fire to somehow slip through the cracks. While he was trying to build a family and rebuild his career, we were all busy passing judgment. Most of us had turned our backs on him.
“In a desperate attempt to hold onto his memory, I went on the Internet to watch old clips of him dancing and singing on TV and onstage and I thought, ‘My God, he was so unique, so original, so rare. And there will never be anyone like him again.’ He was a king. But he was also a human being and alas, we are all human beings and sometimes we have to lose things before we can truly appreciate them. I want to end this on a positive note and say that my sons, age 9 and 4, are obsessed with Michael Jackson. There’s a whole lot of crotch-grabbing and moonwalking going on in my house, and it seems like a whole new generation of kids has discovered his genius and are bringing him to life again. I hope that wherever Michael is now, he is smiling about this.
“Yes, yes Michael Jackson was a human being, but dammit, he was a king. Long live the king.”
Madonna Surprises VMAs With Michael Jackson Tribute
9/13/09, 9:02 pm EST
What was billed as a special tribute to Michael Jackson starring his sister, Janet, turned into an even more epic performance : Madonna took the stage at tonight’s MTV Video Music Awards to honor an artist she called “one of the greats.”
In a long, heartfelt speech about her personal relationship to Jackson, Madonna recalled the moment she learned that he had died. “All I could think about in that moment was I had abandoned him. That we had abandoned him,” she said. “That we had let this magnificent creature who had once set the world on fire slip thorugh the cracks. Most of us had turned our backs on him. … There will never be anyone like him again. He was a king.”
“There’s a whole lot of crotch-grabbing and Moonwalking going on in my house,” she added, saying her two songs are huge MJ fans. “Long live the King!” (Read Madonna’s full speech here.)
Madonna has always been at home in the VMAs’ spotlight. She set the bar high at the show’s inaugural event in 1984, writhing around in a sexified wedding gown to “Like a Virgin” in a performance that had the crowd literally gasping in shock, her longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg recalled to Rolling Stone. “Madonna took it so much further than anyone knew she was capable of,” Rosenberg said. “Some people thought she was the greatest thing ever, and other people thought she was disgusting.”
Her second most-talked-about performance came in 2003, when she broke out “Virgin” once again with pop princesses Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, famously kissing them both before Missy Elliott took the stage and joined the trio for “Hollywood.”
In 1998, she performed a “Shanti/Ray of Light” medley that featured a Lenny Kravitz guitar solo and won Video of the Year for the song’s clip (she took home six Moonmen that year, for “Ray of Light” and “Frozen”). Six years earlier, she opened the show with “Bye Bye Baby” and nabbed two trophies for “Rain.” In 1990, she did “Vogue” in full Marie Antoniette regalia (powered wig, giant fan, huge corsets) and in 1989 she did her share of crotch grabbing during “Express Yourself.” In 1987, the year she scored a win for “Papa Don’t Preach,” she performed “Causing a Commotion” live via satellite.
Madonna’s connection to Jackson runs deep. Both artists were quick to recognize the power of music videos and produced some of the most thought-provoking, tightly choreographed clips of all time. When Madonna performed at London’s O2 arena the week following Jackson’s death, one of her dancers dressed like the King of Pop and performed his signature dance moves to a medley of “Billie Jean” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” “Let’s give it up to one of the greatest artists the world has ever known,” Madonna told the crowd. “Michael Jackson. Long Live the King!”
Madonna to speak before Jackson tribute
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY (AP) – 12 minutes ago
NEW YORK — The MTV Video Music Awards are known for kicking off with the kind of zaniness that has come to define the show, from a dazed Britney Spears to a disgraced Pee-wee Herman.
But on Sunday, it is expected to have a somber start with a musical tribute to Michael Jackson, led by his sister Janet. Madonna will introduce the segment with a speech, according to persons familiar with the production of the show who asked that their names not be used because they were not authorized to reveal details of the show.
Jackson died a drug-induced death in Los Angeles on June 25 at age 50. The medical examiner’s office has labeled the death a homicide, and prosecutors are still investigating.
Jackson was not only an integral part of MTV’s history — his legendary videos changed the way music clips were made and he was the first black artist whose work was aired on the fledgling network — but he also provided the VMAs with some of its most memorable moments, including his infamous smooch with then-wife Lisa Marie Presley, in 1994.
The Jackson tribute won’t be the only moment where Jackson’s presence will be felt. The network is also airing the premiere of the trailer for “This Is It,” the documentary about Jackson’s preparations for his comeback concerts that were to be held in London. The film is due to come out in October.
Both the trailer and the tribute are sure to spark some sad emotions, but with a show to be hosted by British comedian Russell Brand and featuring acts ranging from Lady Gaga to Pink, those bittersweet moments won’t last for long. Last year, Brand made his debut as host by poking fun at the Jonas Brothers’ vow of purity, among other ribald moments.
There were plenty of colorful moments before the show began, as celebrities including Pink and Buzz Aldrin mingled in front of the cameras at Radio City Music Hall.
Lady Gaga made one of the more intriguing entrances, wearing a top hat, a gold mask looking like something out of “Phantom of the Opera” and feathered bodice. She also had some intimate moments with a celebrity date even more famous — Kermit the Frog. They kissed several times, leading Kermit to openly worry about the reaction from longtime galpal Miss Piggy.
Not to be outdone, teen sensation Taylor Swift arrived in a fairy-tale carriage driven by white horses.
Beyonce and Lady GaGa lead all artists with nine nominations each, but the show’s winners aren’t nearly as memorable as the wacky and wild moments, and noteworthy performances.
Both superstars are expected to perform, along with Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Green Day and other acts. And the night won’t just focus on music: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, the much fawned-over stars from the vampire film “Twilight,” will present clips from the movie’s sequel, “New Moon.”
Long live the Queen
Madonna, Janet Jackson pay tribute to King of Pop
September 13, 2009 By KEVIN AMORIM firstname.lastname@example.org
The MTV Video Music Awards kicked off last night on a poignant note for the late King of Pop.
Madonna opened the show with a speech about her friend Michael Jackson, telling of her almost lifelong relationship with him. It all began when they were kids, she said, and she looked up to the young child star. Then they both got to hang out in the early ’90s, going out to dinner and watching movies at her place later.
“Yes, Michael Jackson was a human being, but yes, he was a king,” she told the crowd at Radio City Music Hall, which included Joe and Jermaine Jackson. “Long live the king.”
After Madonna’s opening homage – “It was good to finally get to say my piece,” she said later in the press room – the musical tribute started with MJ look-alikes recreating his moves from such memorable videos as “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Thriller.”
When “Scream,” Jackson’s duet with sister Janet, appeared on the jumbo screen behind the stage, she came out to dance as they both did in the original video. When the number was over, she looked up, and then bowed her head.
Host Russell Brand played nice, as well he should have, where Jackson was concerned. “Tonight is dedicated to the great Michael Jackson,” the British comedian said. “Let’s honor Michael tonight by loving one another in his memory.”
– With Glenn Gamboa