Friday, October 20, 2017
Tributes to Michael Jackson
By Sentinel Staff Report
Published July 2, 2009

Barry Gordy and Michael Jackson

Photo by Billy Ingram

“Michael Jackson war the music man of my generation. There will never be another entertainer or humanitarian like him. As a kid everybody wanted to be Mike and his death is both a shock and certainly sad. I pray for his children, family and his friends through these difficult times.”

Danny Bakewell Jr.

President/Executive Editor

Los Angeles Sentinel

“The Los Angeles Urban League extends its deepest condolences to the Jackson family at this time of sorrow and loss. Michael Jackson’s timeless legacy in the entertainment industry will endure as an intergenerational tribute to his talent and genius.”

Blair Taylor

President of Los Angeles Urban League

“My mother, Rev. Cassandra Mack, took me to my first concert at Madison Square Garden as a child to see the Jackson 5. At that moment I knew what I wanted to do after seeing the greatest entertainer of ALL TIME, Mr. Michael Joseph Jackson.

I, along with the rest of the world, felt as though we were part of MJ’s life because he shared his craft and gift with everyone so unselfishly. We loved you, we Love you, and we will continue to celebrate your genius until the end of time.

My condolences to his family during this difficult and devastating time. Mr. & Mrs. Jackson (Joseph & Katherine) as well as his brothers, sisters and children, comfort and blessings.”

Al B. Sure!

“Michael Jackson’s dedication to humanitarian issues, including helping to raise untold millions of dollars to alleviate poverty and hunger, showed us that he understood how to use his fame to advocate for equality and freedom worldwide. Michael’s compassion and vision for a better world, which he so clearly expressed in his music, will be part of his ongoing legacy,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

In the African American tradition of the great song and dance men Michael’s incomparable, talent and creativity influenced music, dance and culture for decades. His love of soul, rhythm and blues, and rock & roll, all performed with his innovative unique style captured the hearts and imagination of generations of fans.

“NAACP Image Award winning, international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical artist rooted in the proud tradition of black American music. His career–from the working-class neighborhoods of Gary, Indiana, to the heights of the entertainment industry–is a classic example of the American Dream. Michael Jackson, and the talented Jackson family, represented pride and promise to generations of Americans and people around the globe,” concluded Jealous.

The world has lost a great artist, but his legacy of exuberant optimism and undeniable talent will live on.

The NAACP – Washington, D.C.

“It is always hard to lose a friend. I will miss Michael and all that he brought to the world through his music and his creative genius. I know his legend will live on and the world will miss him dearly.”

Smokey Robinson

I am shocked beyond words. It’s like a dream–a bad dream. This cannot be! How can Michael Jackson not be here?

As a kid, Michael was always beyond his years. He had a knowingness about him that was incredible.

When I first heard him sing Smokey’s song, “Who’s Lovin’ You” at 10 years’ old, it felt like he had lived the song for 50 years.

Somehow, even at that first meeting with him, he had a hunger to learn, a hunger to be the best and was willing to work as hard and as long as it took.

I had no concern about his ability to go to the top. He was like my son. He had warmth, sensitivity and two personalities.

When he was not on stage, he was loving, respectful and shy. When he WAS on stage, he was so in charge you would not believe he was the same person.

Michael was and will remain one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived.

He was exceptional, artistic and original. He gave the world his heart and soul through his music.

I extend my sympathies to Joe, Katherine and the entire Jackson family. My prayers are with them.

Berry Gordy, Founder, Motown

I met Michael Jackson at the age of eight –when his father and my new friend, Joe Jackson, first began to bring the Jackson 5 to Chicago, from their home in Gary, Indiana, for concert appearances.

As the word of the Jackson 5’s devastating abilities as concert artists had already begun to spread like an out-of-control forest fire –to the, laser-like, attention of all Chicago area, R&B Music Stars!

The prevailing thought process, among local, R&B stars, with respect to this very young group of entertainers known as the Jackson 5, had become: “If Michael Jackson & his brothers were booked on an, upcoming, Chicagoland show –leave it alone! Don’t book it –Don’t go on that show and get, completely blown away by young Michael and the Jackson 5!!

Michael Jackson’s, personal, crescendo of amazing power, as an entertainer –was clear and unmistakable; and has never slowed to this very day!

His passing will be grieved far beyond that of any other singer, composer, producer, dancer and choreographer, in the history of the world.

Indeed, in my very firmest, personal, belief there will never, ever, be another Michael Jackson!

Don Cornelius



“We love Michael’s music and enjoyed his live performances. He was a stellar entertainer who made the world sing.”

Michael succeeded in capturing the attention of his ever growing legion of fans, the music industry and a multitude of others in an engaging unique manner.”

We extend our condolences to his family and friends. His legacy will live forever.”

Congresswoman Diane E. Watson

Chair of the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus



Michael Jackson was an international treasure and the world is mourning his death. The pain we are all feeling will only be compounded if the facts reveal that his death was entirely preventable.

On a more personal note, my husband, Dorian Holley, was one of Michael’s background singers who had been rehearsing with him for the past few months and who was geared up to travel to London next week for what would have been a phenomenal show. It is a shame that the world will not get a chance to see the remarkable and magical comeback of this amazing superstar.

Shawn Chapman Holley, Esq. Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP

The world has lost the greatest entertainer the world has ever known. The African-American community has lost its ambassador for the principles of peace, love and acceptance.

Leon Jenkins – Los Angeles NAACP


“I am personally saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson sang the soundtrack of my generation. His genius transformed popular music in a way that no other musician has. His gift of song will continue to inspire generations to dance, dream and defy expectations.”

Assembly member Isadore Hall, III (D- Compton)

Assistant Speaker pro Tempore



“Michael Jackson was a magnificent, worldwide ambassador for love and peace. I knew him and loved him. He will be missed.”

Donald T. Sterling – Owner, Los Angeles Clippers

“Michael Jackson, the consummate artist and creative entertainer whom I have known since he was a teenager, is dead.

How difficult it is to construct that sentence. We are out of our joy and he is out of his pain. Several generations have not lived a day without Michael Jackson in their lives.

I remember his performance, along with the Jackson Five, at the first Black Expo. I remember Suzanne de Passe taking the boys, as their chaperon, to Fred Segal to buy clothes. I observed him from the Regal Theater, to “expo”, to We are the World, to Thriller, to Beat It-he was always there.

He was my special guest at my 66th birthday party. I was with him at Neverland through his darkest hours but, through it all, Michael was a survivor and a contributor to his art–a rare vintage. Now the King of Pop deserves his rest.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson


“The sudden passing of entertainment superstar Michael Jackson was a heart-wrenching blow to music lovers throughout California and the world. He was a consummate artist. He transformed pop music. He elevated music videos to a pure art form. He ranks among the world’s most creative and celebrated performers of all time. He was and shall always be ‘The King of Pop’ to his billions of fans around the globe. The arts community has lost an enormous, once-in-a-lifetime talent. We offer our sincere condolences to Michael Jackson’s children, parents, brothers and sisters, and the entire extended Jackson family in their moment of profound grief.”

Senator Curren D. Price, Jr.

Chairman, Joint Committee on the Arts California State Legislature

“My late husband, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., thought Michael Jackson was a gentle, kind, intelligent and generous human being who was also a genius who revolutionized music throughout the world. Johnnie considered it an honor to be his friend. He loved God, his family, his children and all humanity. This is a tragedy of epic proportions. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family during this very difficult time.”

Mrs. Dale Cochran

“As someone who represented Michael off and on for more than 10 years, I like most of the world was stunned when I heard the tragic news of his sudden death. Michael was a musical genius who was always actively involved in wide ranging issues concerning his business and legal affairs. I found him to be an engaged parent, a compassionate humanitarian, and, what might be surprising to some, an outspoken supporter of African American issues of concern. In our private conversations Michael always expressed a sincere empathy for the plight of those who were less fortunate than he. He wanted to use his celebrity to make the world a better place for us all. Although he will be sorely missed, his legacy will live on through the magic of his music forever.”

Carl E. Douglas – The Douglas Law Group

For those of us that grew up listening to Michael and the Jackson 5, they represented for us that African Americans not only had international crossover appeal, but also gained rightful recognition for African Americans as the originators of Blues, Jazz, R & B, Funk, Hip Hop and Rap.

Eric P. Lee

President, SCLC Los Angeles

“I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the 80’s. To this day, the music we created together on “Off The Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad” is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all…talent, grace, professionalism and dedication. He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”

Quincy Jones

“It was a shock to the world and a shock to me that Michael Jackson has gone to another place. May God Bless his children, his mother and the entire Jackson Family.”

Clarence Avant



“I am deeply saddened to hear of Michael’s passing. He was a transformative figure in the music business. It was a pleasure for me to have worked with him and Quincy in promoting the greatest selling album of all time. My heart goes out to Katherine and Joe and the rest of the Jackson family. I remember the first time I met him when I was the Senior Vice President of Epic Records. He said, ‘they didn’t market and promote ‘Off the Wall’ they way they should have. I hope that you will help me in making my next album the greatest of all time’. That album was ‘Thriller’.”

Larkin Arnold –

former Senior Vice President of Epic Records (in charge of the Thriller project)



“The first time I heard Michael’s voice I felt both happy and excited. Then I watched him on the Ed Sullivan show and saw his amazing presence. His singing, his dancing and the slightest movement of his hand inspired a new generation. It was something that I’ll never forget. He was a true gift to the world, a gift that comes only once in a lifetime. I will truly miss him.”

Rickey Minor

“Today, we join the entire world in mourning the death of Michael Jackson. He was truly a music icon and a legendary entertainer. We grew up listening to his music and watching his dance moves, all of which made him the pop phenomenon that he became. His music spoke to the hearts of people and paralleled generations of social and economic change.

Our prayers go out to the Jackson family and Michael’s children as they deal with the shock and sadness of this profound loss. We will all miss the “King of Pop”.

Marc H. Morial,

President and CEO of the National Urban League


“I am saddened that this genius of a talent has been lost to us at such an early age. Thank God he came our way with his wonderful music that will live on forever. He is an icon and truly the “King of Pop”. My prayers go out to his family and to the fans that he so greatly influenced. We should come together to pray for his soul.”

Legacy: Michael Jackson broke down racial barriers in the music industry. His diverse audiences from around the world proved there was no color line in Michael Jackson’s music. He was a true cross-over artist loved by generations of fans. He will go down in history as a musical genius of our times.”

Willis Edwards

“Michael Jackson was a kind, gentle soul. An artistic genius, he saw rhythms and movements in the universe that the rest of us miss. But he was much more than the greatest musician in the world. Michael had a sensitive, generous, giving spirit that few human beings possess. He wanted to change the world through music, art and kindness. He succeeded.

Michael’s delicate spirit clashed with the cruel realities of this planet. His vulnerable and giving self attracted and endless number of charlatans, con artists and mediocrities. He had worked so hard as a child that he wanted to see the childlike side in all of us remain sacred and alive. But greed and manipulation seemed to always surround him. It caused Michael to experience loneliness and isolation.

Michael thought that love, creativity and spirit were the keys to peace and happiness. He was willing to risk all that he was to awaken these feelings in all of us. He was so against violence, abuse and cruelty. But, unfortunately, the forces of darkness seemed to always nip at his heels.

To sit with him in a five month criminal trial was revealing. Not once, did Michael complain about himself. He was constantly worried about his children and family. He often compared himself to Jack Johnson, Josephine Baker, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela–all black geniuses who were pilloried for their brilliance and artistry.

One of the great honors of my life was to know and defend Michael Jackson.

Thomas A. Mesereau Jr.

“I think that Michael Jackson was one the greatest performer(s), entertainers of the 20th century. And it is a great, great loss to the world, the passing of this great artist.”

Shelly Berger



“I am truly heartbroken yet I will always cherish the wonderful memories of the time we spent together. Michael’s incredible talent, artistry and humanity will live on forever.”

Suzanne de Passe



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