Waldlaw Blog

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Are the World

I admit to being a soft touch. I blame it on my father, the great peace activist and Nobel Prize winning biologist who would sit in the kitchen with me and cry over Lassie reruns on TV -- I kid you not! He was the original soft touch, and I spent my childhood crying with him through every sappy movie and TV show we could find. So I come by my "soft touchness" honestly.... Anyway, as a soft touch, I loved the original We Are the World, written 25 years ago (is that possible?!) by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones, and sung by many of the greatest performers of that time. It represented the best of what the music industry had to offer, and raised a huge amount of money to combat starvation in Africa. (For a quite brilliant example of political-satire-through-music, I also recommend the Kinsey Sicks version We Arm the World.) So I was excited when I heard that a new version was being put together to raise money to rebuild Haiti, following the devastating earthquake there on January 12, 2010. And to have the new version of We Are the World premiere at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics -- well, that's almost more than a soft touch like me can stand! I tried to watch the opening ceremonies last night, largely because I wanted to see the video (although I also love the Olympics, and have always enjoyed the opening ceremonies), but I was thwarted by a problem with our cable which made the sound for NBC intolerably awful. So I went to sleep instead -- probably just as well, given how tired I was. Still, when I got up this morning, one of the first things I did was to go onto YouTube and find the We Are the World 25 video. Well, let me just say that I am not disappointed. We Are the World continues to be a beautiful piece of music, inspiring to my sons' generation (especially now that they've added a verse in Rap) as much as it was to my own. It was a brilliant concept when it was made, and Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones have done it again with this new version. Hopefully this song will help inspire each of us to be one of the "ones who make a brighter day" -- by doing something to help fix the devastation in Haiti, certainly, but also by contributing to the many other causes that so desperately need our attention -- whether in dollars, in time, or in small acts of kindness and consideration that make such a difference to our communities in a day-to-day way.


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