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Tributes low-key for Michael Jackson death anniversary

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
There will be plenty of media-driven Michael Jackson tributes like this one last year at the MTV Video Music Awards.
There will be plenty of media-driven Michael Jackson tributes like this one last year at the MTV Video Music Awards.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • No star-studded prime-time events will mark anniversary of pop superstar's death
  • Several smaller events are planned around the country
  • There will be media-driven events, including documentaries
  • Fans say they will listen to music and watch the star's videos
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CNN's Don Lemon speaks exclusively with friends and family members about Michael Jackson's last days in "Michael Jackson: His Final Days," 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN.

(CNN) -- Don't look for an album filled with artists covering his tunes, or a prime-time star-studded tribute blowout to mark the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death.

Because it's not happening.

Instead, there will be smaller tributes around the country, quite a few media-driven events and what is sure to be lots of fans remembering the King of Pop by playing his music and watching his videos.

Indeed, as over-the-top as his life and career often were, the marking of his passing on June 25 appears to be almost low-key.

Christina Aguilera will reportedly join Marc Anthony and a few other celebrities in paying tribute to Jackson on CBS' "The Early Show"; the music network FUSE will premiere two documentaries: "Michael Jackson: The Inside Story" and "Michael Jackson: A Tribute"; CNN will feature "Michael Jackson: His Final Days"; and BET announced that it will include a tribute in its 10th annual BET Awards show on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Jackson Family Foundation and VoicePlate.com will present "Forever Michael" at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with a portion of the proceeds going to some of the singer's favorite charities.

In Jackson's hometown of Gary, Indiana, government officials are anticipating that thousands of fans will descend on the city for a full day of events, including the unveiling of a Jackson monument and a candlelight prayer vigil at dusk.

"We do expect that there will be quite an influx of people in our city on June 25," said LaLosa D. Burns, press secretary for the mayor. "Katherine Jackson will be joining us for the unveiling," Burns said of the Jackson family matriarch, "and we want to allow for the citizens and fans to be able to come together and remember him."

Gail Mitchell, senior editor covering R&B and hip-hop at Billboard magazine, said because Jackson has continued to be in the news since his death -- with media coverage of everything from the death inquiry to the state of his children's lives -- it may be too soon for a huge, cohesive, collective observance of the anniversary.

"There hasn't been any breathing room since he died, with so much happening and since so much is still up in the air," said Mitchell, whose publication has produced an issue dedicated to the pop icon. "There hasn't been a month that's gone by since his death that there hasn't been something. I just don't think there has been enough time for people to step away, because it's just been an ongoing thing."

Mitchell said that fans will even have to be restrained in their mourning at Jackson's final resting place. Forest Lawn Cemetery is allowing fans to gather, but they reportedly won't be able to get very close to his grave site, perform, or release balloons or doves.

That won't stop fans from having their own, personal remembrances.

"My family and I are planning on jamming out to his music all day long and watching 'This Is It,' " said Melissa Fazli of Yorba Linda, California. "My three sons, Arman, 11, Rizvan, 7, and Shayan, 4, are huge fans and love his music. Michael Jackson lives on through our house!"

iReporter Jason Asselin said he plans to listen to the music and watch the videos of a performer he has enjoyed for years. "We will never forget his music or what he brought to the world of entertainment," Asselin said.

DJ Jon Quick is hosting a "Who's Bad" tribute event in New York City and said fans have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to come together and celebrate Jackson because the star meant so much to them.

"His music is like the timeline of my life, so I understand how people feel," Quick said. "Losing him was like losing a family member."

Michael Firestone is a Michael Jackson impersonator who will be performing this weekend as part of a tribute program at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx, New York. He said he will take a moment to remember the man who gave him his career.

"I'm probably going to light a candle at some point, maybe around noon Los Angeles time, since that is around when he died," Firestone said.

"I wish there didn't have to be a tribute," he said, "because I wish he were still here."

 
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