On the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, a block party atmosphere took hold in front of the Apollo Theater in Harlem Friday morning, as scores of Michael Jackson fans--many dressed like the man himself--came out to pay tribute to their fallen King. Boomboxes were turned up and dancing ensued, with many singing along to Jackson's greatest hits.
“I think that every song he wrote explained a purpose-driven life,” said therapist and Harlem resident Veronica Pearson. “You gotta be bad sometimes. You gotta heal the world sometimes. And then if you really, really get real tired, you gotta understand that you gotta make a change.”
The pop star’s devotees called him a brother and a friend, praised his message of peace and love, and talked of the joy Jackson’s music has brought them over the years. They were all fiercely proud and protective of the late icon and said they would never let his memory fade.
“We’re going to hold it down. We’re always going to dress up Mike, rep Mike, love Mike, respect Mike,” said Michael Chase, a Michael Jackson memorabilia vendor. “He might not be the king of the world. But he’s the king of music.”
Before the impromptu dance party, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater Foundation, Jonelle Procope, took a few minutes to dedicate a plaque to Jackson on the Apollo Walk of Fame, below the theater’s marquee. Thousands gathered last year at the same spot when Jackson passed away.
Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for administering the anesthetic Propofol that caused Jackson's death.