Venue: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
Rating: The BEST!!!!
My brother posted the question on Facebook, “What is your single favorite Michael Jackson song… Really, ONLY ONE.” I commented, “It depends on the day of the week. The time of the day, the amount of clouds in the sky and if the sun is shining… I guess today… I’m feeling like Human Nature… wait wait.. Man in the Mirror inspired me these past weeks…” That was a really hard question. I don’t think anyone could easily answer that question without first going through their personal MJ collection.
I don’t know about you, but it still hasn’t registered to me that this musical icon has tragically left this earth. Everyone can agree, he has left an influence that no one can even imagine coming close to. Even if you are not a die hard MJ fan, there is still a Michael Jackson song that makes you pat your feet, snap your fingers, or bob your head. If I’m wrong, show me that person.
When I got the email about the Michael Jackson 51st Birthday Celebration, hosted by Spike Lee and music by DJ Spinna, I knew this was going to be an event I couldn’t miss. I remember a few years back celebrating my birthday with friends at a Prince/Michael Jackson Party presented by KeiStar Productions, with music by DJ Spinna. It was the most fun I had in a long time. I think most of us have a special place for Prince and Michael Jackson. Put all their music in the mix and any artist or song directly related to them, it is a nonstop party where out dated dance moves are acceptable.
I woke up Saturday, August 29th debating whether I should still attend the celebration at Prospect Park in Brooklyn . The sky was very gray and threats of all day rain dampened my mood for celebrating MJ’s birthday. I took an early morning jog through Prospect Park and noticed all the signs and information tables being set up for the event. I looked up at the sky and noticed the dark clouds hovering over the park. Within minutes it began to sprinkle midway my usual route and funny thing, MJ’s Wanna Be Starting Something came on my shuffle. I couldn’t help but laugh and continued to run even in the rain. I realized that not even the rain could detour me, it’s just rain! I must celebrate the man behind the music that was apart of my life since I could remember.
The celebration kicked off at noon. From news reports, Spike was expecting over 10,000 people to attend the event. Not knowing what to expect, I returned to the park early enough to get a good spot. The clouds still hovered, but it didn’t stop the few hundred people who where already at the park when I arrived. The early comers, some wearing plastic rain ponchos with umbrellas in hand, and others sporting their MJ graphic t-shirts or even dressed like MJ, had set up little camps of fold out chairs. The party had started. People were singing and dancing to DJ Spinna’s monster mix of everything MJ. I walked around an observed fans young and old of many races doing their favorite MJ dance moves. I even got into the mix when Rock with You was played. In Karaoke fashion, the words to the songs like Rock Your World and Black or White appeared on the large screen by the DJ’s stage, for people to sing along. What an amazing experience to sing along with the ever growing crowd. I knew, as this event went on, I was going to lose my voice! One of the most magical moments for me was, as DJ Spinna played MJ’s Butterflies, looking up in at the sky, as the clouds began to roll away, and seeing one single butterfly fly around. Many fans around me caught the same sight as I did. I saw a few wipe the tears from their eyes as one remarked “Michael’s spirit is with us”.
Celebrities, such as, Comedian Tracy Morgan, radio personality Ed Lover, spoken word poet Lemon, and Reverend Al Sharpton joined Spike Lee and DJ Spinna on the stage to reflect on the career and passing of Michael Jackson. A few moments were also taken to reflect on those who passed during Katrina, which that day marked the 4 year anniversary of the tragic hurricane, as well as reflect on the life of Senator Ted Kennedy, whose eulogy was being held during the same time. Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, proclaimed August 29th Michael Jackson Day in Brooklyn.
From Noon to 5 o’clock, I partied with thousands of people with an overwhelming love for Michael Jackson’s music. DJ Spinna was on point playing any and everything, from “ABC” to “Leave Me Alone”. Spike Lee orchestrated a massive crowd participation for Wanna Be Starting Something by having volunteers hand out signs saying “Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa” or “Yeah Yeah” to everyone. In true Spike fashion, he directed everyone to hold up their signs during their part of the song. For only a few hours, everyone in that park forgot about all the cares in the world and dance and sang on the same accord. It was obvious how much Michael Jackson had touched our lives and how his legacy will last forever.
Check out DJ Spinna on September 6th as he pays homage to Prince and Michael Jackson at the Soul Slam XIV. For more details visit http://www.keistar.net/.