July 8, 2009
Posted: 06:55 PM ET
By Todd Sperry
(CNN) – Michael Jackson's longtime friend, Miko Brando, says Tuesday's memorial service for the King of Pop was “really emotional” and the setting was in a perfect location.
Brando says, "It was important to have the memorial on the same stage he had been practicing on. He was a perfectionist ... Michael would have been very pleased" with the service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Brando says both outside the memorial service and inside the arena, there was a concert like atmosphere. “It was just like the day we drove in for the last rehearsal. People were screaming out his name."
Tuesday's memorial service drew a U.S. television audience of over 31 million people according to Nielsen Media Research. By contrast, President Obama's inauguration had an audience of almost 38 million people. Princess Diana's funeral had 33 million viewers.
Brando thinks Jackson would have loved to see the world-wide outpouring of support from fans during Tuesday's memorial. "It's too bad this isn't three weeks ago, so Michael could see how everyone is reacting." Brando explains, "He was an entertainer, he was powerful, his thoughts and creations will last forever."
For most fans, Jackson's legacy will be his music, performance, and dance style. No doubt, some will choose to remember the controversial stories that plagued him in the final years of his career.
So what would Michael Jackson want his legacy to be? There are two very different legacies Jackson would like to have according Brando. On the one hand, Brando says Michael would want his fans to know how much he truly appreciated them. "He loved his fans, he never met a stranger. In the streets, if he saw a pan-handler, he would always want to pull over and see if he could help them."
On the other hand, Brando says Jackson would want his legacy to be that of a good father. The memorial service gave the public a brief glimpse into the private life of the legendary entertainer. Brando says Jackson was "...the best father in the world." Until Tuesday's memorial service, Jackson’s children rarely had been seen. The occasional paparazzi photograph of the children wearing bizarre masks and veils only added to the mystery. When Jackson’s daughter Paris took the stage, she deeply moved millions with her tearful farewell to her father. Watch her emotional goodbye » Her unscripted remarks, reportedly not planned by event organizers, would have made her father proud, according to Brando. Brando adds, "They are smart kids who will do their father proud ... They're strong, good kids. Michael raised his kids right. He had an impact on her just as he had an impact on all of us." He also says Jackson’s children, Paris, Prince Michael, and Blanket are "trying to cope and grieve like all of us are."
There was a private gathering for the Jackson family and close friends at a Beverly Hills hotel after the televised memorial service, Brando says the mood there was somber.
As for the hastily planned public event, Brando credits the concert promoters for Jackson's upcoming tour with pulling off the well executed and touching memorial service, adding, "We shared as much as we could with the fans around the world."
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