After watching the funeral procession with millions of others
on television, and later the Memorial at Staples Center, my new
business partner, who knew Michael, drove she and I to Beverly
Hills. We parked near the Beverly Hills Wilshire Four Seasons
Hotel, where she reminded me is where they shot Pretty Woman
starring Julia Roberts. We walked down the sidewalk, and saw
throngs of paparazzi, and news vans, ABC, CBS, all of them,
camped out across the street, along with rows of fans. Police
would not let the major news media even near the other side where
we were standing, and more fans crowded around, children with
parents, teenagers, and adults alike.
One station even had a pretty blonde reporter across the street, on the sidewalk, announcing the fact; ‘Across the street, at the Beverly Hills Wilshire Hotel, the Jackson family are having the repass for Michael Jackson, the private social gathering with family and close friends, after the funeral and memorial.’ With tickets being scalped to the Staples memorial for $50 thousand dollars and up, the repass, which was 100 times more exclusive, had become, after the funeral itself, the most in demand event to attend in the world.
I cried the day Michael Jackson died. His guitarist for Beat It, Billie Jean, and hundreds of more hits with more stars than any other guitarist in the world, David Williams, ended up being my client. Michael Jackson was magic. His name alone brought excitement and energy to a conversation. 'What about Michael?! What have you heard about him? What is he doing? Is that really true?' People would say. The world loved to talk and speculate about the most famous and mysterious man on the planet. The biggest superstar and icon in the world. Now, here I was, going to the repass in the company of his family. I was heartbroken. First David, now Michael. But I was also blessed to be there.
After moments of our arrival, a kind security gentleman walked out and ushered us in. First we got our wristband, and then we were shown in by another security guard through the tall wooden double doors of the grand ballroom. After mingling with a couple of gentleman my partner knew, and seeing the rows of catered food, desserts, bottled waters, sparkling waters, sodas, and juices, I then saw below a row of steps descending to the lower lobby floor, all carpeted. People here sat at circular tables, facing the elevated stage where live piano and soft jazz performers lightly played.
She and I then worked our way over to the roped off area on the upper level, where a crowd had formed. Near that, leaning near a short railing, was Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. My partner and I greeted them, and they said hello, as we moved up to the roped off VIP area. A crowd of celebrities slowly streamed out of one of the velvet ropes, held open by a large African American guard, and walking by, being smashed by all the other bodies of celebrities right in to us. Janet Jackson tilted her hat and sneaked out with Prince Michael, Paris Michael, and Prince Michael II. Brooke Shields, looking very tall, beautiful, and overwhelmed, was near by. “Bruce, this is Wesley Snipes,” my partner introduced, as I tried to take my eyes off Brooke, who was looking very uncomfortable with all the crowd by then, and turn around. ‘Hi Wesley, it’s very nice to meet you.’ I said. Wesley proved to be very kind and cordial. Martin Luther King III, and Bernice King, children of Martin Luther King Jr. then walked out and also spoke with me, and were very gracious.
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