Fans flock to Apollo Theater for Jackson tribute

(AP) - Michael Jackson fans converged on Harlem's famedApollo Theater Tuesday for a public tribute to the performer,clutching photographs, cheering and dancing to his music at thelegendary venue that launched the one-time child star's career.

The Rev. Al Sharpton gave a rousing speech praising the pop starto hundreds of fans who crammed into the theater as others waitedin line outside to pay their respects.

"Michael made young men and women all over the world imitateus," Sharpton said. "Before Michael, we were limited andghettoized. But Michael put on a colorful military outfit, hepulled his pants up, he put on the one glove, and he smashed thebarriers of segregated music."

A black fedora with a white glove draped across its brim sat ona lone stool on the theater's stage, surrounded by elaboratearrangements of white lilies. A nearly life-sized black-and-whiteimage made of flowers depicted the star in a dance pose.

Outside, in a line that circled the block, some fansspontaneously sang their favorite songs and danced in the street.

Thousands were expected to pay their respects at the theater,which was letting in 600 people at a time to listen to Jackson'smusic, watch a video tribute and leave flowers and memorabilia.Inside, fans danced and sang along to a medley of Jackson andJackson 5 hits including "Billie Jean," "ABC" and "Don't Stop'Til You Get Enough."

The event began shortly after 2 p.m., but many people had linedup hours earlier.

Fans wrote messages on a wall of remembrance outside the 125thstreet theater. "God bless and be with you M. Jackson," wrote onefan. "We all share your grief. Love always," read a message tohis family.

Fans began assembling at the Apollo soon after Jackson's deathThursday in Los Angeles. It has continued to serve as an impromptumemorial site ever since.

Newsday - Fans gather to pay tribute toJackson at the Apollo

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