Wyclef Jean, Ciara, Others Share Michael Jackson Memories At BET Awards

'I lost my voice completely,' Wyclef admits of his encounter with Jackson.

Onstage, on the red carpet and backstage during Sunday night's Michael Jackson-dedicated BET Awards, artists young and old — from elder statesmen the O'Jays to 23-year-old Ciara — shared their personal memories of the King of Pop. They spoke of their reverence for the man, his eccentric tendencies and how even the biggest of stars can get panicky in front of a musical legend.

"I actually talked to him on the phone," Ciara said backstage at a press conference after the show ended. "He was doing a song for Hurricane Katrina, and he wanted me to be a part of it."

She was so nervous in anticipation of the call that she turned up her music to calm herself and didn't hear the phone ring. Jackson's assistant ended up leaving her a message. When she called back and connected with the singer, she was speechless. "I couldn't even respond properly," she admitted.

"I'm very, very proud of [the call] because I was looking forward to meeting him, and I didn't get a chance to, so that's something I can hold on to," she added, before breaking down in tears.

Wyclef Jean did get a chance to meet Jackson face-to-face at a music studio, but he was no less nervous than Ciara. "I knew he was coming to see me," Clef said at the post-show presser. "So, the whole day, I'm preparing a speech on how I'm gonna meet him. I'm practicing in the mirror. But then he showed up, and I lost my voice completely. 'Hi, Michael.' He's the only musician — I'm not intimidated by people — but he was definitely one you could say had the voice of God."

The rapper Jazze Pha, whose father is the bassist for old-school soul band the Bar-Kays, got a chance to meet Jackson years ago when the pop star was still performing live. "When I went backstage with Mike with my pops, it's like he had everything in the dressing room," he told MTV News. "He had bearskin rugs. He had these different couches. He had stuff on the walls, like Indian. It's crazy. He had the whole world in the backstage area."

Throughout the evening, artists spoke about the impact Jackson had on their careers. For Ciara, watching and listening to Jackson made her believe she, too, could be a singer.

"I didn't grow up in music, and I realized by the time I was 13 that I could do something in music, and for me, he really is the reason why," she said through tears.

For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit "Michael Jackson Remembered."

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