July 5, 2009

Essence festival attendees honor Jackson

Three notable attendees at the Essence Musical Festival in New Orleans say the late singer Michael Jackson should be remembered for his musical accomplishments.

USA Today reported Saturday singers Beyonce Knowles and Ne-Yo, along with comedian Steve Harvey, spoke about the late Thriller star during the start of the three-day festival.

Knowles used her Friday performance at the Essence Festival to show a home video clip of her as a 5-year-old excited over a Jackson performance.

That night I saw my hero perform ... when I saw Michael Jackson hit the stage, that's when I decided who I wanted to be, Knowles told those in attendance Friday.

I'm gonna do what I can to keep the memory alive, Ne-Yo had offered earlier that day.

Harvey, meanwhile, offered kind words for Jackson, who he credited with helping black performers find a strong place in the world of popular music, USA Today reported.

He was the man who put black people on MTV. Without him, we would have never crossed that barrier, Harvey said of Jackson, who died June 25.