Sharpton says family considering global celebrations to commemorate, preserve Jackson legacy

By Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP
Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sharpton to meet with Jackson family on memorial

LOS ANGELES — The Jackson family is considering a series of simultaneous global celebrations and other ideas as they decide how to commemorate the life of the King of Pop, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Saturday.

Sharpton is a longtime family friend who plans to meet with the family Sunday.

Sharpton said he has spoken with Michael Jackson’s brothers Jackie and Jermaine, and they asked him to meet with the entire family to discuss how best to remember the legend who died Thursday at age 50.

Michael’s father, Joe Jackson, “seemed very saddened but determined to keep going and protect his son’s legacy,” Sharpton said.

The family is frustrated that so much of the media attention has focused on Michael Jackson’s problems, such as his heavy debts, previous child abuse allegations and his use of prescription drugs, Sharpton said.

His family wants to make sure he’s also remembered as a groundbreaking entertainer who made unprecedented contributions to music and culture.

Sharpton said the family is considering his idea of having massive, simultaneous celebrations of Jackson’s life across the globe, so “the media would have to be focused about how millions of people felt about him.”

“Michael Jackson was a genius, he wasn’t a freak,” Sharpton said.

The family is particularly concerned with creating an upbeat view of Jackson for the sake of his three young children, Sharpton said.

“They are very worried about his children … that they don’t grow up with a distorted world view,” he said.

Sharpton, who had known Michael Jackson and his family for more than two decades, also said the family is frustrated over the notion that they had little contact with Jackson.

Michael and his children joined the rest of his family at the recent 60th wedding anniversary of his parents, Sharpton said.

Michael Jackson also told his brothers he wanted them to join him during the planned comeback shows in London.

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