It was hot, about 90 degrees in Brooklyn on Sunday. But no amount of heat could deter hundreds of fans from wearing their best sequined gloves, patent leather chaps, jheri-curled wigs, and thick scrunched white socks to celebrate the life of the King of Pop, on what would have been his 52nd birthday. There were of course plenty of others (like myself) who chose more modest duds, but no matter the dress the jubilation was the same.
The Spike Lee-hosted event is in its second year. All one had to do was literally follow the music to a rolling meadow located at the heart of Prospect Park to find a raging party of people from all ages and of all races shaking their hips and singing along in unison to all Michael Jackson’s hits. DJ Spinna blasted the airwaves with Jackson 5 oldies and liberally switched back and forth to the most latest Jackson mash-up’s—offering a little something for every generation. Those who arrived earliest got first dibs on spots closest to the stage. But for those farthest away, innovative picnic blanket enclosing’s provided impromptu performance spaces for dozens of MJ impersonators—complete with crotch-grabbing hi-jinks and moonwalking moves.
The regulars were all in attendance—the borough politicos, Rev. Al Sharpton and Lee, of course. But perhaps the most surprising was Snoop Dogg, who made a quick run on stage to perform a few of his own songs and talk about how influential Jackson had been to the West Coast rapper. Who knew?
The party in the park is one of the few Jackson commemorations that I can recall that didn’t leave me heavy-hearted. It was a celebration of the life, the man, and the music and I think that’s how Jackson would have wanted it. Here at ColorLines, we’ll mark MJ’s birthday with one from the archives: Tammy Johnson talks in the video above about Michael Jackson’s mark on a black-or-white world.