She furtively emerged from the tight circle of family members, who rushed to lower the microphone to her level. And with her uncle Randy on one side and aunt Janet on the other, Jackson's little girl stood center stage.
"I just wanted to say," Paris began weakly.
"Speak up, sweetheart, speak up," Janet encouraged, sweeping the girl's long hair back. "And get close."
Paris put one hand behind her neck, another on the microphone, and began again.
"Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," she said, her tiny voice cracking.
Rebbie and Marlon Jackson moved in closer to comfort their niece. She shut her eyes tight.
Then she wrapped her hands — little fingernails painted red — around the microphone and fought back tears as she continued: "And I just wanted to say I love him — so much."
She collapsed in tears into her aunt's arms.
"It's OK, baby. It's OK," Janet Jackson said as she held Paris close. Prince joined in on the hug.
And all at once, Jackson wasn't the larger-than-life King of Pop, or Wacko Jacko the tabloid freak. He was a doting father who had left three adoring young children behind.
He was "Daddy."