This was debuted during the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, the 25th anniversary of the classic “We Are The World”, but this time, instead of being for the benefit of Ethiopia, it’s for the victims of the January 12 earthquake that rocked Haiti. The video was directed by Academy Award Winner Paul Haggis (for “Crash”). Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Nicole Scherzinger, Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Fergie, Josh Groban, LL Cool J, Nick Jonas, Lil Wayne (and his auto-tune), Jeff Bridges, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus and Haitian-American singer Wyclef Jean are among the stars who graced this decent cover of the even-then treacly original.
As a kid, I’ve always preferred the British “Do They Know It’s Christmas” over the American “We Are The World”. All my favorites were there: Culture Club, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Sting, Bono, Paul Young, and George Michael. But even then, it undoubtedly featured the biggest American talents of the day. The only two conspicuously absent superstars were Prince (who was a no-show) and Madonna (who wasn’t even invited. I guess that’s the biggest beef most people have about the new version. Although studded with megawatt stars, it lacks some of the biggest names in music today Mariah Carey (who sang in the “Everybody Hurts” charity single instead), Madonna (again), Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, etc.
But I do like the rap twist at the end, because no song with the biggest names in the industry can look over the fact that rap and hiphop artists are some of the biggest movers and shakers as far as music is concerned. So no star-studded event can claim relevance without including rap as part of the musical brew. It’s just cute that at least 3 artists used auto-tune during their part.
But that said, those opinions are purely on the merits of the song as a musical piece. Of course at the heart of it is the more important part which is it being a charity single for the victims of Haiti. You can have Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer for all I care, as long as its heart is in the right place, I’d support it. It’s available for download on iTunes, which unfortunately we cannot access for music (unless you have a gift card), so tell your family and friends in the U.S. not to download it on Limewire, but to buy it on iTunes instead. It’s for a good cause. We Filipinos know how it was to depend on the kindness of others when the twin storms hit us last year.
So like it or hate it, good on all the artists who lent their time and efforts to make this charity single a potentially money-making juggernaut. Hopefully the proceeds go a long way in Haiti. Lord knows, everyone could use a little help every now and then.