Michael Jackson fans are expected to come out in great numbers to commemorate the King of Pop with a moment of silence outside the Apollo Theater on Friday, June 25, a year after his untimely death.
The National Action Network (NAN), along with its president, the Rev. Al Sharpton, is expected to lead the event’s activities.
Sharpton, who is a family friend of the Jacksons, has been actively involved in numerous memorials for Michael.
Just days after Jackson’s death, Sharpton led a memorial outside of the Apollo that welcomed thousands of grieving fans. He also delivered a eulogy at the memorial service in Detroit and the private burial.
Several Michael Jackson fans gathered outside the Apollo Theater Monday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the King of Pop’s death. Jackson died nearly one year ago, but the festivities leading up to the day of his passing started early.
Last year in the days following Jackson’s death, thousands of fans flocked to the Apollo Theater to memorialize Jackson. The Apollo Theater plans to host a tribute to the King of Pop on Friday.
Karen Manardi, a Harlem resident and life-long Jackson fan, gathered fellow Jackson fans for an AmNews photo shoot and dance off for the public to enjoy in front of what many believe is the birthplace of Jackson’s career. Pedestrians snapped photos of the scenery Manardi provided as well as the dancers she invited.
“I’m the biggest Michael Jackson fan,” said Manardi. “I’m still not over his passing, and I wanted to gather with fans like me to kind of give him our own little tribute.”
Each fan was dressed in a symbolic outfit from Jackson’s iconic music videos, including Manardi, who wore Jackson’s signature leather and straps from the 1987 “Bad” video.
“People are still grieving,” she said. “I thought about my mother and father dying, but I never thought about Michael Jackson dying.”
A self-proclaimed die-hard Jackson lover, Dianne Glover, 51, participated in the photo shoot because she felt it was the right thing to do after following Jackson’s career her entire life.
“I have every album, all of his cartoon shows, every DVD and every photo,” said Glover. “Michael was about love and joy and spreading it,” she said. “You can’t ask for more than that.” “I’ll continue to come out here for him every year,” she said.
Manardi’s crew of fanatics ranged from ages 18 to 51. She plans to continue her tribute efforts every year she remains a resident of the Harlem community.
In front of the Apollo Theater, there were other impersonators representing the late King of Pop. Moses Harper, a young dancer who has impersonated Jackson since she was 14 years old, explained her passion for Jackson.
“Michael is my idol. Ever since I was young, I had a love for him. All he did was bring people together based on their love for him. I never met him, but had a bond with him, and only he could do that,” she said.
Harper impersonated the Jackson from his 1987 hit music video “Smooth Criminal,” with the full white suit and blue vest. She stated that she was “devastated and hurt” upon hearing the news of his passing.
Thirty-eight-year-old Raven has been impersonating Jackson for the last 32 years, specifically impersonating Jackson from his Jackson 5 days during the 1970s. He said that many impersonate the “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” versions of Jackson, but he wanted to show people the old Jackson that people do not see often.
When describing his feeling about the passing of Jackson, Raven said, “All I could feel was shock and disbelief, but we are still keeping him alive.”
Raven added that his 14-year-old daughter also has such a strong love for Jackson that when he cannot find his records and CDs of Jackson, they are often in his daughter’s room and she writes “MJ” on her wrist everyday.
Moses and Raven have performed at events, including at Spike Lee’s big Michael Jackson birthday party at Prospect Park last year and at the Apollo Theater a few times. The Jackson 5’s rise to stardom began with their performance at the Apollo’s Amateur Night in the late ’60s. Jackson was recently inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame with soul singer Aretha Franklin.
Around 4:30 p.m., fans will be able to voice their remembrances of the King of Pop outside the theater. At 5:26 p.m., the time of Jackson’s death, there will be a moment of silence.