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Kent State's Center of Pan-African Culture and Michael Jackson Lives Network Participate in Michael Jackson Global Birthday Bash: A 24-Hour Celebration of Jackson's Legacy (8/20)

Kent State University's Center of Pan-African Culture in conjunction with Michael Jackson Lives Network is sponsoring a global birthday bash for Michael Jackson on Saturday, Aug. 29, the day the musician would have celebrated his 51st birthday. Members of the Michael Jackson Lives Network are now planning to engage in a worldwide celebration beginning Aug. 29 at 12 a.m. in the Philippines and circling the globe.

Gatherings are expected in many large metropolitan areas, including New York; Gary, Ind.; Denver; Las Vegas; and London. The only celebration to date in Northeast Ohio will begin Friday, Aug. 28, at 9 p.m.  and conclude Saturday, Aug. 29, at 9 p.m.

The event will kick off to the tune of Jackson's "Gotta Be Starting Something" on Aug. 28 with DJ Ricky Ruckkus at the Robin Hood Bar & Grille in Kent, Ohio. Discounts at the door will be given to Jackson look-alikes, and $100 in cash prizes will be awarded to the best impersonators.

All other activities will take place Aug. 29 at the Center of Pan-African Culture in Oscar Ritchie Hall on the Kent State campus. The second day's activities will consist of a candle-lighting ceremony and cake cutting, live band, poetry, presentations, vendors and workshops on subjects like "Economics of the Music Industry," "The Imagery in Michael Jackson's Videos," "Michael Jackson's Humanitarian Legacy" and "The Global Impact of Michael Jackson's Music."

The event will feature Professor Gene Shelton, Jackson's former publicist at Motown Records; Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell and his "Drumbeat of the Community;" filmmaker and television producer Traci Easley Williams; as well as poets Vince Robinson and Mwatabu Okantah. Organizers will be streaming in video presentations of some surprise guests who knew Jackson during different parts of his life.

The event also will stream in video coverage from around the globe and share the Kent celebration with the world via a live feed from Kent State to a worldwide audience in more than 50 countries on six continents and all across America.

"Our goal is not to memorialize the man, so much as it is to look at his good works and to call attention to the aspects of his life that should be emulated," said Kofi Khemet, an organizer of the event. "We feel this kind of forum will help all of us come to a better understanding of the forces that shaped his development and give us a better understanding of how these same forces may shape our own lives."

This event is made possible by volunteers and donations from the Kent State community and beyond. Akron City Council candidate Russell Neal donated advertising materials. Councilman Conwell, L.R. Scott, DJ Ricky Ruckkus, Vince Robinson and many Pan-African Studies professors have donated their time.

Event: Michael Jackson Global Birthday Bash - DISCO DANCE
Place: The Robin Hood Bar & Grille
Date: Friday, Aug. 28
Time: 9 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.
Cost: $7 at the door; $5 for Michael Jackson look-alikes (18 and older welcome)
Proceeds will benefit the Center of Pan-African Culture

Event: Michael Jackson Global Birthday Bash - EDUTAINMENT
Place: Center of Pan-African Culture, Oscar Ritchie Hall at Kent State University
Date: Saturday, Aug. 29
Time: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Cost: FREE

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Media contacts:
Kofi Khemet,, 330-548-3510
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595


This page was last modified on September 8, 2009