Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson bash is a complete success

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Thousands turned out to celebrate Michael Jackson at Spike Lee's party in Prospect Park on Saturday.
Spike Lee organized the event, where speakers included the Rev. Al Sharpton.

For one afternoon in Prospect Park, Michael Jackson was still alive.

Of course, the guest of honor was not able to make it to Spike Lee’s birthday party on Saturday in the park’s Nethermeade area, but thousands braved the initial downpour to honor their fallen idol, the King of Pop, who died in June at age 50.

Some came in costume, some came with posters of the singer from his many musical eras, but all came to celebrate the man.

“I feel like he’s alive forever,” said Aamir Smith, a 20-year-old dancer, who donned a look right out of the “Thriller” era: red silk oriental shirt with frog closings, tuxedo pants, loafers with white socks, and a jheri curl. “Music is eternal.”

Another dancer who only gave the name “The Konqueror” wore rugged leather studded with metal and sequins.

“I’m trying to represent my spiritual father Michael Jackson to the best of my ability,” the 24-year-old said. “Energy never dies. I am not at [his] level yet, but he will live in my vessel ’til I pass on, and then live in my students’ vessel ’til they pass on.”

Though the NYPD has gotten out of the crowd-estimate business, one of the many cops positioned inside the park said that at one point, 100 people per minute were entering the Nethermeade.

DJ Spinna played Jackson’s songs from noon until 5 pm, backed by a 4,000-watt sound-system that sent Jackson’s backbeats all the way to Eighth Avenue in Park Slope.

“It’s giving him life,” said audio engineer Matt Castillo, of his 24-speaker and sub-woofer system.

Though the afternoon was almost entirely devoted to music and memories, the stage was briefly overrun with celebrities and politicians — how often do Borough President Markowitz and the Rev. Al Sharpton share a stage?

That stage was in Prospect Park after a mini-controversy erupted when city officials realized that the original venue, Fort Greene Park, probably couldn’t handle the expected crowds. After a few days of confusion, Prospect Park was picked to host Brooklyn’s only memorial to the late singer.

But unlike an earlier, somber tribute at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, this was a party, first and foremost.

Indeed, Lee brought out a red velvet birthday cake and introduced the final song: “Man in the Mirror.”

“We gotta sing loud so Michael can hear us!” Lee exhorted.

While all shared Lee’s desire to keep the Jackson spirit alive, not everyone’s motives were so pure.

Brent “Prince Gritty” James, a 23-year-old dancer, entertainer and model from Canarsie, worked the crowd with his agent handing out headshots while he danced in a Jackson style.

“I’m going to see to that I keep him alive forever,” he said.

Updated 5:14 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Anonymous from Kensington says:
I'm pretty sure it's "Jheri" or "Jeri" curl, not "jimmy" curl.
Aug. 30, 2009, 10:16 am
Luu from 5 says:
Wow, that's a lot of funs
Aug. 30, 2009, 11:27 am
Soothsayer from Prospect Heights says:
After many, many mistakes this year, the Parks Dept. finally got it right. The park was actually cleaned during the day Saturday. I guess the weather had a lot to do with the lack of illegal grilling ... and the police presence for the lack of illegal drinking ... but when the sun came up Sunday the park was the cleanest it has been in a long time.
Guess that's what being embarrassed can do to you.
Aug. 30, 2009, 4:50 pm
Capo from Carroll Gardens says:
Really pathetic. I bet the liberal blue bloods in Park Slope and their lesbianic daughters were happy about it.
Aug. 30, 2009, 5:52 pm
Bunga says:
I will love Michael Jackson forever and ever and ever
Aug. 31, 2009, 3:46 am
Eddie from Windsor Terrace says:
Soothsayer from Prospect Heights says: "After many, many mistakes this year, the Parks Dept. finally got it right. The park was actually cleaned during the day Saturday."
Not all bucks can be passed:
The issue with the infamous MIH event/concert -- which brought the mess issue to a head -- wasn't Parks: It was that a private company did p.r. and invited a large crowd to the park, didn't manage garbage (as such events require) or have a permit, then left their mega-mess for understaffed Parks to manage.
Aug. 31, 2009, 11:21 am
da chef from brooklyn says:
hey Capo,

You must have missed Frank Sinatra Day event at the park a few years ago.
I'll send over a few pepperoni pies to ya gumbasso!!

da chef
Aug. 31, 2009, 5:06 pm
Soothsayer from Prospect Heights says:
And the park was back to its usual gross self Monday morning. Especially the picnic area near the skating rink. Disgusting. People are too lazy to carry their trash to a dumpster less than 100 yards away.
Aug. 31, 2009, 5:49 pm

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