Up Close and Personal at the Las Vegas Premiere of Michael Jackson’s “This is It”
Credit to missingMJ and whitesocks from “thedeathofmichaeljackson” forum
Of special interest is the comment I’ve highlighted under Cherilyn’s comments:
Story and Photos by Shelah Moody
Joseph Jackson has been vilified in the media as a ruthless business man and disciplinarian who struck fear and loathing in his nine children.
On Oct. 27, the elder Jackson was portrayed in a different light, as guest of honor at the Las Vegas premiere of Michael Jackson’s long awaited documentary, “This is It.” During the festivities at the Brenden Theatres at the Palms Casino Resort, Jackson was hailed as a hero—as the patriarch of the First Royal Family of music—the Jacksons, and the man behind the success of the greatest entertainer of all time—Michael Jackson. Jackson was praised for working two jobs, one at a steel mill in Gary, Ind., to pull his family out of poverty by creating the Jackson 5.
Johnny Brenden, CEO of Brenden Theater Corp, presented Joe Jackson with his own star on the Brenden Theatre celebrity Walk of Fame. The elder Jackson’s star will be placed next to Michael Jackson’s star on the Walk of Fame.
Tragically, Michael Jackson died unexpectedly in his Los Angeles home on June 25 at age 50. While he was living in Las Vegas, Brenden and Michael Jackson became close friends, as he and his children were frequent visitors to the theater.
High profile guests at the event included boxing impresario Don (“Only in America”) King, actor Todd (“Watchu Talkin Bout Willis”) Bridges from “Different Strokes,” ultimate fighting champion Chuck Liddell and boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Inside the Brenden Theater, all was quiet as Robin Leach, host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, asked Joe Jackson to say a few words before the advanced screening of “This is It,” which documents Michael Jackson’s last concert rehearsals for his planned O2 Arena concerts in London.
Joe Jackson remained humble and was clearly emotional.
“I’m so proud to be here to see this movie. I have not seen it and a lot of media have been asking me what it is about. I hope this movie is fantastic, because Michael was the greatest entertainer who was loved all over the world. He just happened to be my son.”
Rudy Clay, Mayor of Michael Jackson’s hometown, Gary, Ind. was also on hand to for the festivities. The day after the premiere, Clay, Brenden, Joe Jackson sand Simon Sahouri, publisher of Las Vegas Hollywood magazine and Jerry Olivarez, executive director of Public Relations of the Brenden Theatre, Corp announced plans for a Jackson Family Museum and Cultural arts Center to be built in the city of Gary.
“Michael had a record which said, ‘where there is love, I’ll be there’,” said Clay. “There’s a lot of love here today for Joe Jackson and the Jackson family. I wanted to make sure that Gary, Indiana was represented. I had to be here because of the love that the people of Gary, Indiana have for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. I have a friend who knew Michael before he graduated from kindergarten. In Gary, Indiana, we are the world, we are the children who loved Michael.”
Dr. Cherilyn Lee, Michael Jackson’s nutritionist and family nurse practitioner, drove from Los Angeles to attend the premiere of “This is It” and to support Joe Jackson. Lee made headlines soon after Jackson’s death after she revealed that she had warned Jackson against using the anesthetic profofol, which led to his death.
Lee, who runs Nutri-Med Healthcare in Inglewood, Calif., described Michael Jackson as a man who loved hugs, laughter, Tom Ford’s Black Orchid cologne, grits and Kentucky Fried Chicken. During her visits, Lee taught Jackson a mantra: “I am so grateful. I am a magnet for miracles.” She said Jackson often recited it and taught it to his three children.
“Michael was wonderful as a person and so eager to stay healthy,” said Lee. “Anything that I suggested for him to stay healthy, he was doing just that. I’m so happy to be here to see this amazing movie that he produced. I was with him during the time, nutritionally when he was practicing and rehearsing for the tour. He was in good form, and he was in good health, and that’s all I knew.”
Lee continued sharing her memories, saying, “Michael had this infectious laugh and he would almost fall out.” His daughter reminded me when I was giving him his nutrition that he loved to watch “The Mummy” movie. We would watch it all the time and just laugh. He loved people. One thing he said to his children was that hugs are free. It was so warm and so endearing. I hug all my patients. The first time I hugged Michael, I thought I was going to faint! Number one, I didn’t know he was so tall. I always saw him in uniform; I wore scrubs and a white jacket and naturally, I did not have on heels so I looked shorter …. He was always humble. He was a thoughtful and warm, and he never had a negative thing to say about people, he was just a loving person. He also taught his children black history.”
Raquel Choyce, president of Michael Jackson’s United Nation International Fan Club, was one of the organizers of the “This is It” premiere. Choyce, who also works as a Janet Jackson Jackson impersonator in Las Vegas, created the fan club in 2004 during the time Jackson was on trial for child molestation. Choyce said that what she liked best about “This is It” was hearing Michael speak in his own voice and watching him interact with his band members and production crew.
Frederick Henry, who hails from Dallas, Texas, has been impersonating the King of Pop on the Las Vegas Strip for 14 years. He said he became friends with Michael Jackson, who encouraged him to keep up the good work.
“I think the movie is finally going to put to rest all the crazy stories that they put out because they didn’t know the real story,” said Henry. “I think we see Michael at his best. It was amazing. I wanted to see more. I think the CD “This is It” is going to break “Thriller” [the best selling album of all time]. Michael was a beautiful, amazing person, just like in the movie.”