I remember We are the World. It was recorded 25 years ago — can it possibly be that long ago — for the continent of Africa which was experiencing unprecidented famine. Artists gathered in order to raise awareness and raise money. The 63 million raised seems paltry compared to the emmense need and what is being raised today.
A new recording of the song is being spearheaded by Quincy Jones and others to help those in Haiti. Perhaps it is fitting that the 25th anniversary of We are the World should be marked by a renewed effort to help others. It is appropriate for “We Are The World” to once again be the song that will become a singular vehicle to mobilize artists, people and organizations in a time of need.
Paul Haggis, the filmmaker, worked with a small group of future filmmakers from the Ciné Institute in Jacmel, Haiti. With cameras of their own they not only captured behind-the-scenes footage of the all-star cast, but provided the images from the wake of the earthquake that lit up the screens behind the musicians.
Haggis celebrated the premiere of the video with his eight-person staff of students. The mix of young men and women, who range in age from late teens to early 30s, shrieked and smiled as the world watched their work. “It’s pretty cool [to watch it with them]. Their excitement is palpable,” Haggis told MTV News from an editing suite in New York, where he finished the video just 12 hours earlier.
“To think a week ago [before we started filming] they were in Jacmel, where their homes and schools were destroyed,” he continued. “They were literally homeless. And to come here and participate in this and do a really good job of pulling this off, we should feel proud that we made this happen in some small way.”
The devastating earthquake in Haiti was a month ago! That hardly seems possible. Let’s not forget Haiti with our prayers and financial donations.
There comes a time when we head a certain call, when the world must come together as one.
There are people dying and it’s time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all.
We can’t go on pretending day by day that someone, somewhere will soon make a change.
We are all a part of God’s great big family and the truth, you know love is all we need.
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me
Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free as God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand.
When you’re down and out there seems no hope at all.
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall.
Well, well, well, well, let us realize that a change will only come
When we stand together as one.
Written by Michael Jackson and Quincey Jones, the original We are the World was recorded to help the needy in Africa.
Thursday, January 28, 2010 was the 25th anniversary of the recording of “We Are The World,” the historic event that showed how the world’s desire to help people in need could be harnessed into productive action by the efforts of artists in the United States and around the world. Harry Belafonte inspired the original effort to unite American artists in an effort to help the victims of the African famine; Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote the song and Quincy Jones produced it; and Ken Kragen to turn what seemed to be impossible into a reality.
During the course of the rest of 2010, USA for Africa will be posting stories, materials and information on their website that relate to the 25 years of USA for Africa’s work and the progress engendered by the more than $63 million it raised which supported more than 500 projects and helped millions of people in 18 countries in Africa along with educating tens of millions of people in the U.S., Canada and Europe about African needs and issues.
In the immediate aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, USA for Africa made a contribution of $10,000 to purchase 750,000 water purification tablets to be distributed in Haiti through Operation USA. Today, we are pleased to make the greatest gift we have to offer: The legacy and goodwill of “We Are The World” to those taking the lead in helping the Haitian victims to rebuild their lives.
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