In a clip released over the Christmas holiday, director Spike Lee paid tribute to [artist id=”1102″]Michael Jackson[/artist]’s legendary career in the official video for the King of Pop’s posthumous single, “This Is It.”
The emotional video intersperses iconic images of the late pop singer with footage shot in Jackson’s hometown of Gary, Indiana, and fan tributes following his death June 25.
It opens with a tight shot of a poster in Gary pointing fans toward Jackson’s childhood home, at the corner of 2300 Jackson Street and Jackson Family Boulevard, under the sound of vintage recordings of the Jackson siblings calling for Michael. In an image he returns to several times in the nearly five-minute clip, Lee pans across a one-way traffic sign near the legendary Jackson bungalow that is covered in graffiti honoring the late pop icon, including “we luv yuh Michael,” written in a childlike scrawl.
Images of Jackson performing as a child are mixed in with soft-focus shots of play sets, baseball bats and Gary’s gritty industrial skyline. Lee — who threw a Brooklyn street party in Jackson’s honor in August — focuses in on the singer’s iconic hands a short while into the montage, outstretched alternately in his signature sequined glove and with his fingertips wrapped in white tape.
A central image captured by the “Do the Right Thing” director is a plea for tolerance etched onto a stop sign in Gary. Someone wrote the message “This Is It” above the word “stop,” under which they’ve added “hatin’.” Interspersed with archival footage of Jackson in his prime greeting his global fans are touching shots of contemporary followers paying homage to the singer following his death by wearing their own silver gloves and MJ memorabilia.
At one point, one of the lyrics from the song, “I never heard a single word about you,” floats up out of the concrete, fading to more shots of fan tributes from around the world and the heaps of flowers and messages laid at the gates of the singer’s Neverland Ranch. Lee returns several times to moving images of a single red balloon floating in the air and empty swings swaying in the breeze.
Fittingly, the video ends with classic footage of Jackson doing the moonwalk and a dramatic pan to a black stool with Jackson’s trademark black fedora and silver glove under a spotlight in front of the Gary residence.
Michael Jackson’s shocking death and his continued influence on music and culture made MTV News name the King of Pop our 2009 Man of the Year .
For tributes, MJ videos and more on “This Is It,” visit MTV’s “Michael Jackson Remembered.”