Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Marlon backs Michael Jackson’s memorial gig in Lagos

THE conference centre of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, was last Wednesday filled with journalists and airport workers, who came to catch a glimpse of Marlon Jackson, brother to the late Michael Jackson’s.
He walked into the expansive conference room, full of emotion as he watched the recorded memorial being played on a big screen inside the room. He saw the remains of his immediate younger boy laid in a golden casket in Staples Centre, where the memorial took place a fortnight ago. Dressed in blue, long sleeve sports track suit with yellow stripes and a white cap, Marlon said he had come with a message of hope to the people of restive Niger Delta. He informed that part of his visit to the country was in line with the foundation the Jackson family was putting together to help restore peace in troubled nations including the Niger Delta region of Nigeria . Marlon, who arrived Lagos aboard Delta Airlines addressed a large crowd at the conference room of the Airport, where he made the intention of the family known. Present at the event were Tee Mac, the ‘former’ President of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria; Bolaji Rosiji; Stella Monye; and Alfred Dickson among others. Addressing newsmen, Marlon informed that the decision by the family to set up what he called Michael Jackson Peace Foundation stemmed out of the fact that the late king of pop music not only preached peace, he was also a lover of conflict free world. “We are setting up Michael Jackson Peace Foundation to tackle the crisis in the Niger Delta region. We are going to look at the various options available to achieve peace in the region. Michael loved people, he loved peace and we will try everything to achieve that.” According to Marlon, the crisis has been a source of concern to the whole world and it was part of the reasons the family chose to contribute to finding a solution to the troubled area. He urged Nigerian and African leaders to embrace peace and love, saying such remained the only way a true global peace can be achieved. “I want leaders and various groups to love one another. We all want peaceful environment globally. We must spread love, give peace a chance and understand one another. I tell you this will bring solution to the world,” he advised. ON the death of his late brother, Marlon stated: “We express gratitude to the entire world for their condolences. My family is still mourning the death of our brother. Our parents are still grieving, and as you all know Michael had a project at hand. Michael was interested in the Badagry project because he had never been to Nigeria and looked forward to the completion of the project because he wanted to come and see things for himself.” Marlon, who was in Nigeria few months ago on business and tourism in Africa especially in Badagry, disclosed that the Jackson brothers would likely perform in a memorial gig being organised by friends in Nigeria for his late brother. Billed for Lagos on August 29, Jackson’s birthday, Tee Mac said the concert was part of the activities aimed at immortalising the King of Pop music. Presently, the planning committee for the gig is making wide consultation in a bid to make the event a memorable one. ACCORDING to Bolaji Rosiji, a former PMAN president, the concert would involved artistes from different parts of Africa and beyond. “The role of each country will be disclosed as soon as the planning committee receives replies from them. All the regions of Africa are to be part of the event, with at least one or more artistes representing each zone. We also have some state governments, media, airlines and hotels as partners. Invitations have been sent out to colleagues and fans of Michael, and arrangements are on the way for a hitch free event.” ON why the group came up with the initiative, Rosiji said, ‘we share the vision of Michael Jackson’s Heal the World Foundation. I hope the concert will help keep his good works alive; this is what he should be remembered for.” Rosiji, who followed MJ’s music career as a young man, frowned at some negative remarks on the pop artiste. He described the master dancer as a true philanthropist. “I grew up with Michael in my living room; he was the first Afro-American that many in my generation saw as a symbol of a successful African. Those who criticise him for being broke forget that he gave a lot of his money away. Michael Jackson was an exceptional humanitarian. He loved children and took time out when touring to secretly visit sick children.” CITING the Guinness Book of World Record as an evidence to MJ’s goodwill, Rosiji noted that, “he was listed in the 2000 edition of the book for breaking the world record for the “most charities supported by a Pop Star” (39 in all). He was one of the inspirations behind Gauranga Foundation’s Artistes to Kids project.” Charities supported by Michael include Transafrica, AIDS Project L.A., Dakar Foundation, American Cancer Society, Angel Food, Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles, Brotherhood Crusade, Brothman Burn Centre, Camp Ronald McDonald, Childhelp USA. and others. “I do not believe that there is a single Nigerian that he did not give a sense of ‘Yes, We Can’ long before Obama echoed the famous phrase. His We Are The World impacted positively on Africans and set the scene for numerous other artistes to jump onto welfare concert bandwagon including myself,” Rosiji declared. Meanwhile, artistes from different parts of the continent are already indicating interest to perform Michael Jackson’s song at the event, which will also feature MJ look alike dance competition, he informed. A gift from Prophet Temitope Joshua of the Synagogue Church was presented to Marlon at the airport.

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