Google Down the Line!: (UPDATED) Serena remembers Michael Jackson, "Words can't express my shock..." says Williams

Friday, June 26, 2009

(UPDATED) Serena remembers Michael Jackson, "Words can't express my shock..." says Williams

After her third round 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Italian Roberta Vinci at Wimbledon today Serena Williams was asked about the sudden death of Michael Jackson, someone she had met numerous times and knew:

Q. What did Michael Jackson mean to you personally? Would you think about dedicating today's victory perhaps?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, he was a great guy, a complete icon. Words can't express my shock and horror, you know, just thoughts and prayers that go out to him and his family and just everything. It's just terrible, terrible, terrible thing.

Q. Did you listen to his music much? Were you a fan?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think Michael Jackson, everyone listens to his music. It's like you think of the Beatles, you think of Elvis Presley, you think of Michael Jackson, those are just lifetime icons that I've never forgotten. The things that he did was beyond iconic.

Q. Did you know Michael Jackson at all? Ever meet him?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've met him a few times. I was honored to meet him. You know, everything. He had such a great heart and wonderful kids. You know, it's just really a shame.

Q. It happened quite late last night. Did you get the news last night or was it this morning?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I'm always online. I'm always looking at the latest news up until I fall asleep, so I saw it fairly early.

Q. Michael Jackson obviously is one of the greatest celebrities in the world culture. Can you talk about the whole phenomena of celebrity, living your life as a celebrity? Is it all upside and glamour? Are there downsides? How do you deal with that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think he was an ultimate celebrity. I think any celebrity who met Michael Jackson was completely awe. I know I was. I kept thinking, Oh, my God, oh, my God. It's him, it's him. So for me he was the celebrity of all celebrities. To be in that position, I can't imagine. Since he was a child, he has always been Michael Jackson. He's always been famous and he's always been, you know, a celebrity. And he's never really had a different life.

Q. Are there parallels between that and you and your sister at all, in the fact that you started so young?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, I wouldn't even mention my name and his in the same sentence at all.

Q. Are you a little bit in shock of the news?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, like I said, I'm always online. I've been following him. He's really not been well from what I read. He's been in and out of the hospital. So I wasn't super shocked. But, I mean, it's Michael Jackson. He's just the greatest entertainer for me of all time.

Q. What do you think the one quality he had that just projected him to this great stardom?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Innovation. He did things that no one else did. Like Thriller is the best video ever made still to this day. The videos that he did for his songs, no one had ever even went that far. And he started a whole new trend with that. Dances, singing, beats, you know, everything.

Q. Can you moonwalk?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. When you were talking about Michael Jackson, his iconic status, is that a status within the black community, or is that beyond that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I mean, Michael Jackson goes way beyond the black community. I mean, everyone of every color, every nation, every race, you know, is Michael Jackson fans. The guy literally couldn't walk the streets. Even though I met him, knew him, if I would have saw him on the streets, I still would have been like, AHHH. He is just iconic on all levels.

Q. Have you got one favorite song?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. I don't remember the name of it, though. It's a slower one. It's a slower one. It's a duet with someone. I don't remember.

Whatever you thought about his personal life and controversies, one thing is for sure: he was a musical pioneer, and his songs and performances had an indelible impact on pop culture and people's lives, including my own.


UPDATE: Roger Federer was also asked about his thoughts on the passing of MJ:

Q. Where were you and what were your immediate thoughts when you heard the news that Michael Jackson had died?

ROGER FEDERER: I was at the house late last night. Obviously, you know, I love his music. It wasn't clear, you know, what had happened, you know. So I waited for sort of to see what's gonna happen and the confirmation.

Sure, a very sad moment I think in the music world. You know, he touched many people. Same for me. But I'll obviously still listen to his music for many more years to come.

Q. What do you consider the aspect that you appreciate the most of his performances?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I remember, I don't know, back maybe in '88 or '89, he came to Basel. I was outside of the stadium, because there was such excitement that he would come. I was still very young. I think I went there with my sister, and we just listened from the outside, you know.

Yeah, always listened to his music. And, yeah, it's sad. You know, it really is.

(image via getty)


  1. "Whatever you thought about his personal life and controversies, one thing is for sure: he was a musical pioneer, and his songs and performances had an indelible impact on pop culture and people's lives, including my own"
    No kidding, Rich. The very first 45 (google it, you youngsters) I owned was cut out from a box of Alphabits, and it was "ABC". When I was 14 I bought Off The Wall and loved it. I snuck into Studio 54 one night, and who was there? MJ himself! Tore the place apart with his dancing. RIP, MJ.

  2. RIP MJ.

    "Human Nature" is still one of my all time favs.


  3. RIP Michael, but oh boy are there far more greater humans on this world, who'll never get this hype.
    Yeah, the Thriller so improved the world, what an important piece of work, saved lives....BIG.
    Or like how crazy is this world?There are doctors out there, neurosurgeons and scientists, who are actually big as a house, they are true heroes, but no one is making all the fuss when they leave this planet.
    But society is always paying the biggest tribute to Hollywood crapsters.Yeah, he was a singer dude, a bad one on top of it, he had millions of $ for singing.....I think it's time to reduce paychecks to all those nobodies, and give the money to some other people having real jobs.Talented doctor or talented singer?Yeah, our world appreciates more a singer.Great.That's why there are so many hungry children, no food for you little pals, we have to build another huge house in Miami for a singer!
    What a joke.

    ps.It would be fine to ask Serena one or two questions.But they went over the line.

  4. Anon442,
    Why don't you, yourself, make a fuss when a great doctor, neurosurgeon, or scientist dies? Or anyone you feel has made a contribution to society? Change starts with one person. How about telling us about one? That's a start.

    The reason you see people reacting they way they are is because most of them know who he is. It's a common thread. Unfortunately, most ppl can't name a great scientist or physician. Why don't you channel your anger into making one of those that you know better known?

  5. I bet they asked Serena in length because of both Serena's and Michael's mother's religion. Just a thought.

  6. natch-"Unfortunately, most ppl can't name a great scientist or physician. Why don't you channel your anger into making one of those that you know better known?"

    LFMAO Are you serious, you really said that- SOBER?
    Yeah, most people don't know about great neurosurgeon who save thousands of life cause that what our society is like today-twisted!
    On CNN or whatever channel, news , there are stuff like what purse or dress is celebrity actor wearing, who divorced who, they talk for days about Jackson's "contribution" and analyze him like he invented cure for AIDS.
    FIRST OF ALL, to answer that thing you wrote:
    Man should start from himself, and choose jobs and people that he respects, I know who I respect, I know Michael I don't respect.Do you know who you respect?
    If you need another man to tell YOU, and name you a hero like some scientist or physician, that means you don't even care to find out that by yourself, yet you fall for the image media is serving us- crap Hollywood.Are you that ignorant you need another man to name you and explain you the actual heroes?Do you live in a box?

    "The reason you see people reacting they way they are is because most of them know who he is."

    People are reacting that way cause they are ignorant and stupid, not knowing sh!t about world.
    In this very moment, while some girly girl is listening to MJ songs, and making a drama about yet just another human gone, there a millions of children who are hungry!MJ had millions of dollars, who he feed??
    For gods sakes, use your brain.Michael was true example of our twisted society, who spent his millions on court defending himself as a child abuser, he couldn't come up with one normal sentence, and our society is paying THAT big of a tribute to that human?Pffffft.
    We're on a great path, society, f'n great path.

  7. Anon 442 and 622, it's evident that you're really angry.
    I understand what you're saying, but a lot of people were touched by MJ, like it or not. I wasn't a fan of his and I didn't like him, but I can understand their pain.
    It's true, there are a lot of important people in this world who should be acknowledged but are not, but if people want to say RIP MJ, they have every right to do so.
    Let the people who are sad mourn in peace and use something else to vent.

  8. Anon 442 and 622, i think it is inappropriate to blame people for the fact that they are sad over MJ's death because the same thing does not happen when a scientist dies.

    first of all, lets be honest, there are many men of science who are extremely well knownand appreciated, just that today with the presence of internet things spread more, so MJ's death is really covered. TIME magazine named einstein the man of the century. If he would have lived and died in teh 21st century, i'm positive his death would have gotten as much coverage. in russia, gagarin, the first man in space is one of the most cherished memories. it is normal that people are sad over MJ's death, music touches people and it leaves a mark on you forever. sometimes it really can heal more than a medicine.

    but comon, look around u, i think the way people all around the world reacted to the death of Neda totally contradicts your statement. she was not even a scientist or a star, she was a person like all of us fighting for her freedom, and the news has been broadcasting that incident for days and the internet has been exploding with groups and comments about her strength.

    so no, i don't agree with you saying the world is twisted. sure there are bad things and people, but there is also a lot of compassion and love, whether it is for a pop idol or a young woman in a repressed country standing up for her rights. maybe the problem is that you are too closed up and angry yourself to notice any of it?

  9. anon: the fact how that women was murdered and the fact her parents were thrown out of their home days after it, the things happening in her country, is all more then enough example how world is twisted.If to ask her parents now what do you think about your life, and world?What do you think will they say?Huh?Seeing their daughter shot in her heart?
    Does all this compassion have a sense when murder of their daughter DID HAPPEN, plain and there, it happened.And the thing is tomorrow it can be one of us, we don't change.We still make WARS in 21. century.
    If that is not twisted, war *by itself*, well ok then.
    Easy to say if you just see the news, and comment.
    There are people out there LIVING that nightmare.
    And we can't even *imagine* how that must feel like.(Thank God.)
    No one should ever have life like that.Not even one person.But no, millions of people from forever lived a nightmare.World War II,(our *great* history) and today, people still killing.Well then.
    All is just A OK, no?
    Let us hear even more about Hollywood and their deaths, houses, cars, Oscar parties and all.
    Like real people are not dying from heart attacks.Or little children from hunger for that matter.
    Don't quite remember when CNN had a coverage from Africa or USA, following for 5 days non-stop about hungry children?
    People die every day, I think it's more important to follow hungry children all this hours, then to replay MJ's life.
    He was just a human, and people die every day.But celebs are all sorts of more important.Travesty.

    This is evidently long topic, but wrong place, Rich should delete all non-tennis talk.

  10. Federer's favorite movie is Dirty Dancing so I'm not surprised...

  11. Anon442,
    I asked you to provide a name to see if you could actually provide one, or to see if you were venting instead. I think your response answered my question. Have a nice day.

    Feel free to delete this.

  12. natch:
    the thing is what you said in your post just adds again to what I said that poeple are ignorant as hell.If you need another man telling you who is important person of today (yet you know about MJ's last meal and tons of other stupid details) then can you be more ignorant?
    If your concious is high you would know by yourself how priorities are twisted and you wouldn't need to ask to be given a name....
    Are you not ashamed of yourself yet?God.
    I could give you 100 names, and none of them would be Hollwood crapster names.....but I bet you'd get confused and I'll rob you of that pleasure.But hey you CAN always find out YOURSELF!Imagine that miracle!YES YOU CAN!!

  13. Hey everyone,

    I just left this note on another post: I understand some of you may not agree or even like some of the things I write - fine. So always feel free to direct your comments to me. I look forward to hearing your opinions.

    But it's not cool to bash other readers. Let's keep the comments directed towards the subject matter and not make it a venting/bashing session.

    Thanks, Rich


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