Photos by Shino Yanagawa
Rain? What rain? Thousands of people came out to Prospect Park on the 51st anniversary of the birth of The Man The Myth The Legend Michael Joseph Jackson. It felt like the whole park was in on the celebration. As I walked with Ms. Shino into the park we saw lines of people walking ahead. The workers of the parks department were very nice and seemed almost happy for us to be there. As we walked up through the path leading to the open area where the event was taking place I saw a group of little kids dressed like the Scarecrow and the Tin-man from The Wiz. You gotta love it.
We continued walking to hear the sounds of MJ blaring through the air. I looked out at a sea of people. Never before have I seen so many folks in Prospect Park in my life. There were barricades up separating sections of people so the parks dept. could keep order. A number of NYPD folks were on deck but no one seemed to be on edge. There was so much love in the park that day you could feel it. At first we were told we couldn't go into the main front area where I could see my friends from afar dancing it up. So feeling a little defeated we walked along side the gate figuring out what to do. After running into a few friends we were given the idea to have someone try to bring us in as if we were already there. Shino told a park worker and then a police officer a wonderful tale on the spot which was sort of true to get us in. That tale along with our friend Lorraine waving an armband in the air (which had nothing to do with the day's event) telling the cop to let us in sealed the deal. The officer escorted us into the coveted section and it was on like popcorn.
Through the day I saw plenty of friends and family come through. We danced til we couldn't dance any more in the heat and under the rain. DJ Spinna did an excellent job weaving in well known classic Michael records with under the radar Jackson gems. For those who decided not to go because of the rain...you really missed out. I was a part of two HUGE electric slides that day. Spike Lee, Rev. Al Sharpton , Ed Lover and Tracy Morgan took turns being the MCs for the event. Plenty of michael impersonators were on deck and the kids...I can't say enough about the kids. They had the most fun. The whole place even sang along in Karaoke to "The Way You Make Me Feel".
We miss you Michael but Brooklyn will always uphold your spirit. Here's the pics from Shino Yanagawa.