Mona Lisa Mouallem
Associate Producer, Fareed Zakaria GPS
I am a huge lover of music. Like so many people around the globe, the soundtrack to my childhood was made up in good part of Michael Jackson’s records. My brother Joe and I danced to Thriller for hours on end in our living room. I understood, at a very young age, how talented Michael was and as I grew up I watched Michael continue to inspire millions in every corner of the planet with his unparalleled music, style and message.
So when people ask me ‘what is the greatest moment of your life thus far’, I do not hesitate for one moment: it was the night I got to play the piano for Michael Jackson.
Let me back up a little. Michael and my dad became friendly when he moved to New York in 2001 to record his album, Invincible. While I am well aware of the many controversies that surrounded Michael Jackson’s life, they had no bearing on the evenings that my family and I got to spend with him. My family was lucky enough to get to know him and his beautiful, lovely children, away from the flash of cameras and the chants of fans.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/Michael.Jackson.russia/art.jackson.skin.grammys.gi.jpg caption="Fan or fanatic? How well do you know the late 'King of Pop'?"]
Music icon Michael Jackson passed away Thursday, June 25, after suffering cardiac arrest at his home in Los Angeles, California.
How well do you know the "King of Pop"? Take this quiz and let's see who's bad.
CNN Senior Executive Producer
The first thing I did when we learned Michael Jackson died was to put together a series of YouTube links from the Jackson 5 and solo Michael for my children. Michael Jackson was the soundtrack of my childhood in the 1970s. I wish he were my young childrens’ soundtrack. Aside from screening out that one dance gesture that he latched on to later in his career, and doing my best to shield them from the details of his biography, I will be sharing with them a treasure trove of his performances and music videos. I will also share with them the roots of his music.
BLACK & WHITE
Despite the fact that Michael Jackson has been the biggest cross-cultural, trans-national, multi-generational singular sensation in the music world, there is one thing that many African Americans are saying about him right now that, as a white man, I am not in position to say. I hear it from my African American friends on the phone, on their Tweets and on their blogs. “Michael was ours,” they say. Based on his record sales, you could say he was all of ours. But not in the same way.
“I’m in shock,” was the Facebook entry from African American teacher/singer Kristi Budd, a friend of mine in Atlanta. “Today,” she says of herself and her black friends, “our Facebook entries feel like we’re signing a guest book."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/25/iran.ambassador/art.neda.jpg caption="Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, was shot to death in Tehran on Saturday."]
Special to CNN
Since last Saturday, the images of Neda Agha Soltan, the young woman who died on the streets of Tehran, keep playing before my eyes.
When I don't look at the clip on my computer, it runs on its own in my mind's eye.
What has me so riveted is not entirely empathy, the intuitive human response the images are bound to stir in everyone. There is also something less noble at work in me, an obsession with seeing my own face upon hers. Each time I see her die, I die along with her.
I, too, was born and raised in Iran. My coming-of-age years coincided with the Iranian revolution of 1979. I, too, was on the streets, watching and rooting for the demonstrators. Nothing seemed more natural, more compelling than being on the streets, calling for freedom, breathing the intoxicating, the dangerously euphoric Tehran air.
I was 12 in 1978, yet I was as undaunted as any adult. Nothing, least of all my pleading parents, could keep me away from the rooftops at 9 p.m. Amid the night's dark, where the crowds were as indiscernible as ghosts, the shouts of "Allah-o-akbar" rose from every rooftop like smoke rising from an invisible bonfire. We were all victims of the flames and the very arsonists at once. We were burning in the fire of our own making.
Tonight on 360°, new details on the death of Michael Jackson. An autopsy was performed today by the Los Angeles County coroner. Also, police want to talk with the doctor who was with Jackson when he died at his home. We'll have all the latest developments.
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CNN Senior Executive Producer
It happened on Aug. 12, 1970. I was a cub reporter for United Press International with an ace assignment – covering an all-star Detroit tribute to the then ailing ex-heavyweight champion Joe Louis.
The entertainment was right out of the Motown Hall of Fame – everyone from Smokey Robinson to the Four Tops, the Temptations and one group I was then only vaguely aware of, the Jackson Five.
Bill Cosby was the master of ceremonies, the comedian Red Foxx performed in x-rated splendor and the sports world trotted out such luminaries as Sugar Ray Robinson, Sonny Liston and basketball’s Bill Russell.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/jackson.presley.blog/t1wide.jackson.fans12.gi.jpg ]
As family, friends and fans mourn the death of Michael Jackson, a clearer picture is emerging of what happened just hours before his death. We'll have the latest development for you tonight on AC360°.
We also know about the tense moments inside Jackson's home as his personal physician tried with out success to save his life with CPR. The 911 call was released today. We'll play part of it for you. That doctor has been identified as Conrad Murray, a cardiologist who works in Las Vegas and Houston, and who is licensed to practice medicine in California. Last night, police towed the car he was driving away from Jackson's rented mansion. Officials say the car may contain "medications pertinent to the investigation."
Did drugs contribute to Jackson's death? We'll talk over the possibility with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta and addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky.
We'll also look at what the future might be for Jackson's three children. Who will get custody of them?
There's also the role that Jackson played as a racial trailblazer. He was the first African-American star on MTV.
Did Jackson influence your life? Share your memories below.
And, join us at 10pm ET for all this and more on the life and death of Michael Jackson. See you then!
Editor's Note: Elizabeth Taylor, a longtime close friend of Michael Jackson, shared her feelings about his death on Twitter. Posted below are her recent tweets, which became the statement released by Taylor's publicist. For more on the life and death of the King of Pop, tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET.
Source: Elizabeth Taylor's Twitter page
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/michael.jackson/art.hospital.x17.jpg caption="Michael Jackson arrives at UCLA Medical Center on Thursday."]
The audiotape of the emergency phone call to 911 from Michael Jackson’s home was released today by the Los Angeles City Fire Department. The caller on the line says Jackson is unconscious.
June 25th 2009, at 2:25pm
911: Fire and paramedic 33, what is your emergency?
CALLER: We need an ambulance as soon as possible sir, its 100 north carol wood drive Los Angeles California 90077.
911: Sir what is the phone number you are calling from and what happened?
CALLER: We have a gentleman here that needs help he is not breathing we tried pumping him.
911: How old is he?
CALLER: He is 50 years old sir.
911: He is unconscious not breathing?
CALLER: Yes, he is not conscious sir.
911: Is he on the floor?
CALLER: He is on the bed.
911: Let’s get him on the floor. I'm gonna help you with CPR right now. We are on our way there, did anyone see him?