As the star-studded tribute to the King of Pop concluded, Michael Jackson’s own children, Prince Michael, 12, Paris Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael II (Blanket), 7, took the stage during a group performance of “Heal the World.”
The climactic moment of Tuesday’s Michael Jackson memorial service came when after the song, 11-year-old Paris Jackson gave an impromptu speech from the stage surrounded by the Jackson family. Paris stepped to the mic and spoke through tears: “Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” she said. “And I just want to say that I love him so much.”
Her aunt Janet Jackson then took her into her arms for a hug before the entire Jackson family left the stage, closing the service that lasted more than two hours. The moving tribute was especially startling because it marked one of the first times Michael’s daughter has ever been heard publicly.
Ken Erlich, the producer of the memorial, has told EW that the moment was in no way planned. “A lot of the show was not scripted,” he says. “A lot of the speakers spoke from their heart. We told them we’d be happy to work with them, but a lot of them — the Smokeys, the Berry Gordys, the people who knew Michael all his life — wanted to speak from the heart, on their own. When [the Paris moment] happened, I had asked the family to come up if they wanted to and say something. I thought, frankly, that we were going to get the brothers and the sisters. This went way beyond that, obviously.”
Erlich also reports that the moment when Usher left the stage to sing “Gone Too Soon” next to Jackson‘s casket was similarly impromptu. “He did that on his own and it was wonderful,” says the producer. “All we had time to do with this show is create the sense of it. The rest of it happened because we allowed it to happen. We didn’t want to get in the way.”
More photos of the kids below…
Singing to “We Are The World”Above: You notice that Blanket dresses like Michael used to dress, with the high-water pants, white tube socks and penny loafer shoes. Check out the photo I put below to compare.