The New “We Are the World”  song.  Haiti Version.

  Sequels are hard to pull off, especially when the original was such an overwhelming success.   I write this with hesitation as I know how much work Lionel Richie must have put forth (not to mention how many gigantic egos to juggle) in order to produce the new video.   Watching it, however, brings about a glaringly different perspective.  Not sure if it’s a sad commentary on the music scene of today, or just the fact that I relate to a different generation musically speaking. I’d like to think I am somewhat objective to the matter as well. 

 The piece is called “Artists for Haiti” and that’s where the first incongruence starts.  If you’re going to have a title that begins with “Artists,” then why are you throwing random bubble-gum puppets who can’t write a song, compose music, or play an instrument?  To compound this, you have the inevitable issue that it will undoubtedly be compared to the original.

 And yes, there is an original.  It featured some of the greatest musicians who appealed to a cross-over of generations with careers spanning several decades.  Basically, a group that was comprised of legends in Rock and Roll, R &B, Pop, and Country.

A list that featured , Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan from the Singer Songwriter Category.  Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Lionel Richie from the R&B, Michael Jackson (the King of Pop back then), Kenny Rogers & Willie Nelson from Country.  They even threw Steve Perry of Journey for his unique vocal talents.  (The list goes on… )

  Watching the new version brings about mixed emotions.  On the one hand, you have your wallet out to help the people of Haiti. On the other hand, after watching the new video, you’re tempted to put your wallet back in your pocket.

It sort of reminds you of the NBA “Dream Team” in 1992.  It was called the Dream Team because it would be a dream to see Magic, Bird, and Jordan play together.  Then they decided to piggyback off of the original Dream-Team to use the marketing angle to sell future “Dream Teams.” 

Future “Dream Teams” resembled more of a nightmare consisting of ball-hogging, vastly overpaid, self-absorbed players contributing to the debacle that was the U.S. Team that lost to Greece a few years ago.  After losing to that Greek team without any recognizable players, they learned their lesson.  Now, they just call it “US Men’s basketball.”

Same scenario here.  Why not just write a NEW Song for Haiti?  Something completely different and unique onto its own?  It wouldn’t be compared to the original, and it’d present even more of the flavor of the people in the current video.  At that point, you could try and suspend your disbelief to think  that this current cast actually cares.  You may even get over the Michael Jackson flashback that is solely put in there to appeal to your sense of nostalgia and create hysteria.  

 You have to ask the intriguing question:  If Michael Jackson hadn’t died last year, would the current alive version of Michael Jackson have been asked to be in this?   Well, something to ponder.

 I suppose if you had never seen the original, or if you’re unfamiliar with Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, The Boss (Bruce), Billy Joel, and Paul Simon, then the new version will suit you fine.  If you’re familiar, then that feeling you have in the pit of your stomach, it’s also known as nausea. 

Misguided or not, it’s my belief that generally artists are compassionate and empathetic people.  Therefore, I do believe that the original cast did care to make a difference.  Some members of the new cast look like people who were told by their teams of advisors this’d be a good photo opportunity. 

 The new version contains some artists but it also contains a whole bunch of questionable people that shake up your bullshit detector harder than the earthquake which shook Haiti.  Your reaction well may be:   “Seriously?  You’re kidding me, right?   These are the pretentious people trying to convince me to donate money? The ones who’d ask their manager or a member of their entourage to throw a trench coat over a Haitian if they actually saw one?”

  “Hey!  He was looking at me in a creepy way…….”         And really, who wants a homeless starving Haitian staring at you when you’re snorting fine grade cocaine?  Total Buzz-kill.

Anyhow, if you’re musically inclined and can appreciate more than what’s just popular at the given moment, you can compare and contrast the two videos for yourself.

 The Original Video Meant to Raise Awareness for Africa: 



  Below is the New Version Designed to Raise awareness in case you just came out of a Coma. (Warning: May entice you to go back into your coma)



I clearly realize the good intentions of wanting to help the people of Haiti.  What baffles me is the timing and the context.  In the 80s, music legends got together to raise awareness for the crisis in Africa. 

 Do we need more awareness about the Haiti crisis?  Who doesn’t know about the Earthquake that hit Haiti recently? Is there anyone out there in United States or other Industrialized Nations who really doesn’t know about what happened? 

  As for me, I donated a small amount when the original Television fund-raising program aired over a month ago.  Maybe I’m a sucker.    Given that Haiti has one of the most corrupt governments in the galaxy, you wonder how much of the money donated by Americans actually reaches the people of Haiti?  10 cents out of a Dollar?