EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW: NAACP Attendees Honor Michael Jackson

Sep. 1 2009, Published 1:50 p.m. ET

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Just days after what would have been Michael Jackson's 51st birthday, stars attending the NAACP Theater Awards in Hollywood on Monday night had Michael on their minds.

Legendary actor Louis Gossett Jr. told reporter Rachel Smith: "He's the best performer in the history of the planet."

Gossett says he doesn't attend funerals, but wanted to pay his respects so "I sent a tree outside the house-- it's called the tree of life. They put it inside.. Jermaine did."

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Eric Benet pays tribute to Michael every night. "I'll do a Michael Jackson song in every show. It's small. I definitely don't do the song justice. But in my heart I feel like I'm playing homage to him."

When boxer Laila Ali was a young girl, Michael would come over to the house. "I just remember him coming to the house, and my sister asking him--we were really young-- 'Why do you talk like a girl?' He was just like "I guess God made me that way.'

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Jackson's burial will held Thursday at Glendale Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.



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