Twenty-five years ago, when I was *almost* 18 years old forty-five of our most beloved musicians (and actors) came together to raise money for African relief. Dubbed USA for Africa, with a simple song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, this coming together gave us a song that was- for my generation- something never seen before. It opened our eyes to the good that can come from working together and when you - as Quincy Jones demanded- "Leave your ego at the door." I remember sitting in awe, and then in tears, as I watched the video over and over (thank you MTV and VH1 when you really were video channels). It touched my heart then- and it still does today.
Here I give you the original video, featuring:
•Dan Aykroyd•Harry Belafonte •Lindsey Buckingham•Kim Carnes•Ray Charles
•Bob Dylan•Sheila E.•Bob Geldof•Hall and Oates•James Ingram•Jackie Jackson
•LaToya Jackson•Marlon Jackson•Michael Jackson•Randy Jackson•Tito Jackson
•Al Jarreau•Waylon Jennings•Billy Joel•Cyndi Lauper•Huey Lewis and the News
•Kenny Logins•Bette Midler•Willie Nelson•Jeffery Osborne•Steve Perry•The Pointer Sisters•Lionel Richie•Smokey Robinson•Kenny Rogers•Diana Ross•Paul Simon•Bruce Springsteen•Tina Turner•Dionne Warwick•Stevie Wonder
•Michael Boddicker - Synthesizers, Programming
•Paulinho da Costa - Percussion
•Louis Johnson - Bass
•Quincy Jones - Producer
•Michael Omartian - Keyboards, Producer
•Greg Phillinganes - Keyboards
•John Robinson - Drums
This year, in response to the horrific January 12th earthquake in Haiti, Quincy Jones and Lionel Ritchie brought together another group of musical artists representing every age group from the very young(Justin Beiber, Jonas Brothers, Mylie Cyrus) to the true legends (Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand); from every musical genre from Pop (PINK!,Christina Auguilara)to Hip Hop (the Black Eyed Peas) to Country (Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush) to Rap (LL Cool J and Snoop Dog) and I love, love, love that they digitally added in Michael Jackson- because it wouldn't be right without him.
When I saw this video this morning, I was literally in tears again. Where else in the world could you bring together so many (80 this time!) incredibly talented to create something lasting to help people that they will never meet in their lifetime? Where else, but here in the USA, would these people whose every whim is answered for them, who are adored and revered within their world, who are scattered across the world busy working on their own tours and engagements, drop everything to come together create this video in hopes that people like me will either click the donate button on Youtube or download it on itunes to raise money for the relief efforts? This makes me proud of each of these artists. It also makes me giggle because I saw Lionel Ritchie on Oprah on Friday and he was describing looking around the room and watching Tony Bennett having a conversation with Snoop Dog and Barbra Streisand with her chin on Will.i.am's shoulder talking to Justin Beiber and just the surreal quality of it all. I picture it in my mind and it just doesn't click.
Though they will never know of my thanks- I am grateful to the following artists for their time, their passion and their dedication to making this video. * Carlos Santana* Sugarland* Natalie Cole* India.Arie* Mary Mary
* Bebe Winans* Tyrese Gibson* Raphael Saadiq* Keri Hilson* Heart* Pink
* Miley Cyrus* Jordin Sparks* Katharine McPhee* Patti Austin* Usher
* The Fray* Nicole Richie* Ethan Bortnick (9-year-old prodigy pianist)
* Taj Jackson* Freda Payne* Lil Wayne* Harry Connick Jr.* Bizzy Bones (Bone Thugs-n-Harmony)* Orianthi (This Is It guitarist)* Rickey Minor (American Idol music director)* Adam Levine* Earth Wind & Fire* Jonas Brothers* Nicole Scherzinger* Julianne Hough* Melanie Fiona* Mya
* Anthony Hamilton* Gladys Knight* Joel Madden* Benji Madden* Musiq Soulchild* Randy Jackson* Kid Cudi* Trey Songz* Taryll Jackson* T.J. Jackson* Drake* Faith Evans* Rashida Jones* Al Jardine* A.R. Rahman (Grammy winner, “Jai Ho”)* Jason Mraz* Akon* Jennifer Hudson* Enrique Iglesias* Toni Braxton* Lady Gaga* Justin Bieber* Celine Dion* T-Pain
* Trey Songz* Kanye West* Tony Bennett* Beach Boy Brian Wilson* Snoop Dogg
* Jamie Foxx* Jeff Bridges* LL Cool J* Wyclef Jean* Vince Vaughn* Robin Thicke* will.i.am* Reba McEntire* Brandy* Josh Groban* Rob Thomas
* Zac Brown Band* Barbra Streisand. This is the "offical list" so if I missed anyone- my apologies.
I hope you enjoy the new version as much as I did:
I am doing the itunes donation so that I can add it (and the original) to my playlist. If it so moves you- I hope that you will too.