Since we got the news well over a week ago, I have submerged myself into a Michael Jackson/The Jacksons/Jackson 5 musical coma while fighting back my emotions.

On the day the world stood still, I had a hard time keeping myself together but I managed. I tried to focus on all of what Michael represented. I thought about how my aunt gave me the “Bad” LP for my birthday when I turned 14. I thought about how I love to work out to “I Can’t Help It” & how I sing aloud without a care in the world.

Like millions of others in the world, I did not know Michael but I feel like did. Maybe its because he was a part of my life musically since I was a baby.

Shit I remember my momma having the “Off The Wall” & “Thriller” albums displayed on our living room wall, along side some of her other favorites of that time.

I remember so much & I only have good memories.

I remember teasing after the “Pepsi commercial” when I was in elementary school.

“Michael Jackson went to town thinking he was pony down. Pepsi Cola burnt him up, now he’s drinking 7-Up. 7-Up had no caffeine, now he’s singing Billie Jean.”

Who made that shit up & why was it so funny back then? We may never know.

So anyway, last week, while on vacation in NYC, I made it a point to visit Harlem so that I could experience 1st hand the frenzy of love circling the Apollo Theater.

When I walked upon the theater, it was hard not to get emotional. I almost had to detach myself from my personal being to work as a photojournalist. It was not an easy task as I’m a very emotional person anyway.

I can only imagine what Harlem will be like today (July 07, 2009).

So, it’s the day that I never thought would come but here it is & I guess finally considering all of the drama being reported out. I mean, Michael converted to Islam months ago & here he is still above ground. I feel that he has been totally disrespected in so many ways.

Will his soul ever be able to rest?

I’ll miss Michael but from the looks of things, he will continue to grace us with music for a long time to come. I’ll be there for every release. I am a fan & I’m not afraid to say that I LOVE Michael Jackson, no matter what.

To see other images that I captured at the Michael Jackson Tribute Memorial at the Apollo Theater, click here.