JOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters / Corbis
R&B star Usher performed with Michael Jackson for the "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special" concert video in 2001.
The first time I got a chance to usher and michael jackson photo meet Michael was onstage at Madison Square Garden. There were tons of people on the stage, and I just remember losing my mind. Like, Oh my God, that's Michael Jackson right there. I was just over his right shoulder. And then when I finally got a chance to get on the stage with him, I was just shut down. He had the type of magic that you just bowed to. I just said, "I love you, and I know you've heard it a million and one times from fans all over the world, but you've meant so much to me as an entertainer, and I love you, and I've admired you all these years." He said "Thank you" in a very calm, meek voice. He was like, "Thank you so much, Usher. What you do is great; you're great. What you do is not easy, the singing and dancing is not easy. Most performers can't do that, and you've been able to do it, and I'm very impressed by you." (Watch TIME's video "Appreciating Michael Jackson, the Musician.")
I was shooting a Macy's commercial and me and Martha Stewart were standing side by side taking a picture, and I remember looking over to her and I said, "They said that Michael had an incident, a cardiac arrest," and she and I were both in denial — "No, that's just some fabricated story that they came up with." We kind of shrugged it off. I went and I turned on CNN, and they said he had experienced issues of cardiac arrest. And I knew this was very serious. I had an engagement in Paris, and as I boarded my plane, I didn't know what to think. By the time I landed, there was his family releasing a statement. Man, I lost it. I cried myself to sleep. This man, he meant so much to me as an entertainer; as an individual, he taught me so much, even though he didn't know it. Michael Jackson was the first African American to sing to a crossover audience. I do feel like without Michael Jackson, MTV would not be on the map. It would not be what it is today. This is bigger than the loss of Elvis.
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