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Michael Jackson faithful hold colorful memorial despite latest abuse claims

Michael Jackson was seemingly everywhere Tuesday at an event marking the 10th anniversary of his death at the mausoleum in Glendale where he is interred.

The King of Pop’s face was emblazoned on T-shirts, backpacks, buttons and hats. Fans of all ages and ethnic backgrounds sported fedoras, military jackets, single white gloves and the late entertainer’s signature black curls. Jackson dolls peeped out of handbags. Posters brought by fans from as far as Japan, Italy and China featured life-size pictures of the pop sensation.

“Michael’s music spoke to different people differently,” said Marcell “Porkchop” Miller, a friend of the Jackson family who helped emcee the event.

RELATED: Michael Jackson’s final hours

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Jackson died at age 50 in Los Angeles from an accidental overdose of drugs he was given to help him sleep. His death was ruled a homicide and his doctor was convicted.

Looming over Tuesday’s event was the release several months ago of “Finding Neverland,” a documentary featuring two men who allege Jackson sexually abused them beginning when they were children. Sex abuse allegations dogged Jackson for years, and the documentary has prompted a reappraisal of his career and fame.

Tanisha Woods, 26, traveled to Los Angeles from Panama City, Fla., to pay homage to Jackson.

“When I didn’t have anything at all, I had his music to inspire me, to give me motivation, to keep me going,” said Woods, who has been a fan since she was 5 years old. “That’s something I can never really thank him enough for.”

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Haotian Liu, who lives in Los Angeles, said he visits Jackson’s final resting place at least twice a year: for the anniversary of his death and for his birthday.

“Every time there’s been difficulty in my life, Michael gave me strength and power,” Liu said. “It’s not just [worshipping] an idol. To me, it’s more like a faith.”

Liu said Tuesday’s event drew more people than previous gatherings at the site.

Mel Miller and Georgia Hagger met at the event after traveling separately from different parts of Australia.

“I felt it was a good opportunity to meet like-minded people and just embrace the occasion,” said Miller, adding that Jackson has been a part of his daily life for as long as he can remember.

Midafternoon, Marcell Miller asked attendees to form a circle and connect with the people around them. At one point, a recording of Jackson singing “Heal the World” played. Fans embraced one another, sang, swayed and wept.

Geraldine Hughes, the former legal secretary for the father of a boy who accused Jackson of sexual abuse in 1993, proclaimed Jackson’s innocence.

“Redemption is the truth behind the false allegations,” Hughes said, echoing others who spoke during the event.

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Applause and shouts of support suggested broad consensus on the point.

Seidman writes for Times Community News.


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