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Op-ed: Thoughts on ‘We Are the World: 25 for Haiti’ and Michael Jackson being featured

The new version of the song, ‘We Are the World’ (“We Are the World: 25 for Haiti”) is set to premiere during the Olympics on February 12.  In case you didn’t know, Michael Jackson co-wrote the song with fellow singer Lionel Richie. Now at the request of  Katherine Jackson, the matriarch of the Jackson clan, the late Michael Jackson will be featured on the song and in the video.

There will be footage from the original ‘We Are the World’ with Michael Jackson in it. However, this time around he will be singing with his sister Janet.

Here’s what Lionel Richie had to say about the song:

“We left the original footage of that part, but now he is singing with his sister,” Richie said.

“It’s something we wanted to see, but his mother requested it too, for Janet to sing with Michael,” said Quincy Jones, who produced the original track and helped orchestrate the re-recording. “It was perfect. It was meant to be.”

Here’s my take:

Understandably so this is for a good cause. I think doing a charity song to raise awareness, or in this case to raise money for relief, is always a great idea. However, with all the talented song writers out there, why couldn’t a new song be written and recorded?  One of the biggest problems in the music industry right now is a lack of creativity. Artists just seem to be complacent with taking other individuals hard work and musically assassinating it with what they feel is art.

The remake features about 80 persons or more and some of the individuals involved seem to be only looking for their next photo opportunity. One of the most unique things about the original ‘We Are the World’, was that there were an array of unique voices from all genres compiled to make one memorable work of art.

I for one, wholeheartedly believe that Jackson was thrown in there as an after-thought. Some of the most prominent figures in music were not included in this new rendition. The remake features artists and celebrities who, in my opinion, would be considered ‘popular’, instead of artists who have made an impact on the industry itself. Am I speaking of all the individuals featured in this remake? of course not, but I won’t name names at this point in time.

Agree to disagree if you like…

Artists gather to record ‘We Are the World’ for Haiti


The original “We Are the World” was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie to aid famine relief in Africa, now twenty-five years later, a new roster of musicians will gather to record the song.

The session, which will be recorded some time tonight, will be held in the same exact studio where the original song was recorded—– the A&M complex in Hollywood, CA.

Akon, Lady GaGa, Bono, Wyclef Jean, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Toni Braxton, Carlos Santana and Jason Mraz are confirmed to perform on the new track.

The track will benefit Haiti relief  in helping to re-build and nourish those devastated by the earthquake. Quincy Jones and RedOne are set to produce the track.

RedOne had this to say about working with Jones.

“Having Quincy, our father of music … and Lionel Richie asking me to contribute and help, I said of course, because this is not about me,” he said. “It’s about Haiti.”

The original song featured 45 musicians/celebrities from across the U.S.
My two cents: Sometimes you just need to leave well-enough alone.

Source: Associate Press

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