We Are The World… And Then Some.

We Are The World… And Then Some.

By Nic Brown In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie took pen to paper, as Quincy Jones took to the boards.  The reason for the amalgamation of star power: relief for those affected by the then-recent famine in Ethiopia. The result: “We Are The World,” a star studded, if pretty cheesy, 7:02 sing along, featuring

By Nic Brown

In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie took pen to paper, as Quincy Jones took to the boards.  The reason for the amalgamation of star power: relief for those affected by the then-recent famine in Ethiopia. The result: “We Are The World,” a star studded, if pretty cheesy, 7:02 sing along, featuring a who’s-who of 80’s music: the aforementioned MJ and Lionel, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, and a room full of others.  For all it’s ridiculous celebrity ego-stroking, it did eventually raise $51.2 million for it’s cause.  And also now serves as wonderful shorthand for the 80s in general. (It would also be followed by the gargantuan “Live Aid” concert, which also raised approximately $283.6 Million.)
It is now 2010.  25 years, AKA, a quarter century since the roundup of We Are The World.  And since the 21st century, so far, has made a career out of recycling every last bit of 80’s shorthand, what could make more sense than “We Are The World 25.”  With no need for reminder, Haiti, on January 12th, was struck by a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake, leaving damage, death, and disorientation in its wake. And of course, being the creative hotbed American mainstream culture is, some of our biggest stars were so inspired, they decided to go out of their way and repurpose a song meant for a different cause in it’s entirety.  But of course, adding a “southern bounce,” courtesy of Wyclef Jean. Nice!  The track was already in planning to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original, but when Haiti fell victim to it’s unexpected crisis, it was decided without argument that the focus and funds would be directed towards aiding the country in its time of need.  Much like 1985, the session was held within hours after the Grammy Awards, similar to the original’s final night of completion directly after the American Music Awards.
If nothing else, rest assured that the original lineup of We Are The World looks more like an awkward family picnic compared to the gigantic, distorted amalgamation of ego/pretense/some people that were old enough to be on the original “We Are The World,” but weren’t. (Note: No one from the original “We Are The World” is on it.)
Kanye West is there, surely to inform everyone that (although he is quite happy to take part in the event) California indeed has the best earthquakes of all time (See VMAs).  Drake is there to spit mildly impressive punchlines, and holler at the ladies in this time of need.  Snoop Dogg is there to bring some American wholesomeness to the event. (The interesting part is, that’s not really a joke.) Lady Gaga is there to aid the Haitians in style, while Lil Wayne is there, of course to…um…well what is Lil Wayne there for?  Regardless of any opinions on the artist makeup or otherwise, the single will make it’s premiere within footage of it’s actual recording session, during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on February 12th.

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