Sunday Madonna opened the MTV Video Music Awards with a speech about her friend Michael Jackson. She told of her almost lifelong relationship with him. She said, it all began when they were kids and she looked up to the young child star. Then they both got to hang out in the early '90s, going out to dinner and watching movies at her place later.
"Yes Michael Jackson was a human being, but yes, he was a king," she told the crowd at Radio City Music Hall, which included Joe and Jermain Jackson. "Long live the king."
After Madonna's opening homage - "It was good to finally get to say my piece," she said later in the press room - the musical tribute started with MJ look-alikes recreating his moves from such memorable videos as "Bad," "Smooth Criminal" and "Thriller."
When "Scream," Jackson's duet with sister Janet, appeared on the jumbo screen behind the stage, she came out to dance as they both did in the original video. When the number was over, she looked up, and then bowed her head, Newsday reports.
MTV.com quoted Madonna as saying, "Michael Jackson was born in August 1958. So was I. Michael Jackson grew up in the suburbs of the Midwest. So did I. Michael Jackson had eight brothers and sisters. So do I. When Michael Jackson was 6 he became a superstar and was perhaps the world's most beloved child. When I was 6 my mother died. I think he got the shorter end of the stick."
She went on to talk about the time they spent together, her admiration for his talent, his "vulnerability and charm," and her sons' love for his music.
After the show, with a somber face, Madonna explained just how much the dedication to Jackson meant to her.
"[It was] extremely important because I didn't really have my chance to pay my last respects to him or speak of him in the way that I wanted to," the Material Girl said. "It was a privilege and an honor for me to say what I had to say.
"[It] took me all week to write [the speech], and I just wrote it from my heart," she added. "And I kept slashing and burning and editing."
While she did admit that she left out some choice MJ anecdotes, it was purely in the interest of time, MTV.com reports.
It was also reported, Madonna noted how "obsessed" her sons are with Jackson ("there's a lot of crotch-grabbing and a moonwalking going on in my house") was a bit of an overshare but an important sentiment to the lasting power of Jackson's legacy.At times, Madge gave more focus to the qualities shared between herself and the late pop star rather than the qualities that made him the King of Pop. However, she redeemed herself with a story of their early friendship and by discussing the obstacles Jackson faced in his final years, the Los Angeles Times reports.