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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are we the world?

**Phone ringing**

Quincy Jones - "Hello?"

Wyclef Jean - "Q, is that you? "

Q - "Quincy Jones, in the flesh..."

W -"Cool, Wyclef speaking."

Q - "What's going on, 'Clef?"

W -"I need a favor, man."

Q - "What's up?"

W - "Well, it seems that my non-profit has come into question... You know something about buying million-dollar McLarens while not filing taxes, then asking for donations for charity throws red flags."

Q - "Okay... ?"

W -"Well, the text messaging money for Yele is not coming in so hot anymore, and Haiti still ain't gettin' no help."

Q - "Okay... ?"

W -"You remember what you, Mike and Lionel did back in the day, that We Are The World piece?"

Q - "Ohhhh no, no no! We are NOT touching that one."

W - "No, hear me out! It happens to have been 25 years, now would be the perfect time to strike on that Silver anniversary, and would help to raise some more money for Haiti."

Q - "I hear what you're saying, but I am not terribly sure I want to be all the way in on this one"

W - "That much I understand... Tell you what, I will get Will I Am to re-produce and modernize the beat. I got tons of friends in the industry who would love to get the free pub, I just need your permission and for you to get in the video."

Q - "You do realize that you need to get Lionel AND Michael's permission, right?"

W - "Um... Q?"

Q - "Yeah?"

W - "June 25th, bruh..."

Q - "Oh shit, dammit!"

W - "I'll get Lionel on the horn."

*phone rings*
Lionel Richie - "Hello?"

W - "Lionel?"

L - "Yes, whose this?"

W - "Q?"

Q - "Here!"

W - "Cool... Lionel, Wyclef and Quincy Jones calling, how are you?"

L - "I'm well, all things considered... To what do I owe the honor of this contact?"

W - "Actually, Lionel, I had an idea."

L - "You have the floor."

W - "We do an all-star cast for We Are The World 2010. 25th Anniversary. This time it is in support of Haiti."

L - "'Clef... You know text messaging is bigger in 2010 than record sales are, right?"

W - "That does not compute..."

L - "Whatever happened to what you WERE doing?"

W - "Apparently not filing taxes and buying super cars is not a good look for the proprietor of a non-profit."

L - "I bet... Now I know you have to have somewhat of a plan here, no?"

W - "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do... Like I was telling Q; That much I understand... Tell you what, I will get Will I Am to re-produce and modernize the beat. I got tons of friends in the industry who would love to get the free pub, I just need you guys' permission and for you to get in the video."

L - "Seems harmless enough... What say ye, Q?"

Q - "Well, I was more worried about the legacy of the song and message in and of itself, but sitting on our hands was just the the thing we were against 25 years ago."

L - "Good point... I am inclined to agree that I wouldn't want to cheapen the song, but it'd be wrong of us to do nothing."

W - "Does this mean I have your blessing?"

Q - "Lionel?"

L - *sighs* "Sure..."

Q - "Well I guess I'm in... Get at me with a cast and that beat ASAP and we can get it did..."

3 Days Later...

*phone rings*

Q - "Hello?"

W - "Q! Clef here... I got that list for you."

Q - "Okay, lay it on me..."

W - "Okay, it goes as follows...
Justin Bieber
Nicole Scherzinger
Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Nettles
Josh Groban
Tony Bennett
Mary J. Blige
Michael Jackson
Janet Jackson
Barbra Streisand
Miley Cyrus
Enrique Iglesias
Jamie Foxx
Myself, of course
Adam Levine from Maroon 5
Pink
BeBe Winans
Usher
Celine Dion
Orianthi
Fergie
Nick Jonas
Toni Braxton
Mary Mary
Isaac Slade
Lil Wayne
Carlos Santana
Akon
T-Pain
LL Cool J
Will.i.am
Snoop Dogg
Busta Rhymes
Swizz Beatz
Iyaz
Kanye West"

Q - "Um... 'Clef?"

W - "Yeah?"

Q - "You know that list includes 2 dead people, right?"

W - "2 things... I said Isaac SLADE, not Hayes; and we were gonna use stock material for Mike's part."

Q - "Duly noted, and kinda weird, but I trust your judgment so far, except the lineup seems kinda small... You know we had a ton of people singing the chorus the first time."

W - "I got something for that too."

Q - "Do tell..."

W - "Well, with everybody I named before, I got...
Patti Austin
Philip Bailey
Fonzworth Bentley
Bizzy Bone
Ethan Bortnick
Jeff Bridges
Zac Brown
Brandy
Kristian Bush
Natalie Cole
Harry Connick Jr.
Nikka Costa
Kid Cudi
Faith Evans
Melanie Fiona
Sean Garrett
Tyrese Gibson
Anthony Hamilton
Keith Harris
Rick Hendrix
Keri Hilson
Julianne Hough
Nipsey Hussle
Il Trio
India.Arie
Randy Jackson
Taj Jackson
Taryll Jackson
TJ Jackson
Al Jardine
Jimmy Jean-Louis
Ralph Johnson
Joe Jonas
Kevin Jonas
Rashida Jones
Gladys Knight
Benji Madden
Harlow Madden
Joel Madden
Katharine McPhee
Jason Mraz
Mýa
Plain Pat
Freda Payne
A. R. Rahman
RedOne
Nicole Richie
Raphael Saadiq
Trey Songz
Musiq Soulchild
Jordin Sparks
Robin Thicke
Rob Thomas
Vince Vaughn
Verdine White
Ann Wilson
Brian Wilson
Nancy Wilson"

Q - "So you mean to tell me, uh..."

W - "What?"

Q - "You can include 4 people no one has ever heard of, one that is a better model than singer, 2 people who are famous for not having to sing, 2 singers who only use autotune and EIGHT rappers, 3 of whom are famous for singing with autotune as well?"

W - "Look, I think Lil Wayne's people had my phone tapped or something... Soon as this started to bubble they called me..."

Q - "So?"

W - "Well, he was on the way to sentencing and they figured the judge would give him some leniency if he got on something like this."

Q - "So?"

W - "They said he promised not to rap on the song or get anyone pregnant if we let him do it."

Q - "Ahh, I see... But why the other rappers who aren't facing their debt to societies forthcoming?"

W - "Because we want it to sell? Otherwise we're doing this for fun, not to help anyone."

Q - "Ahh, yes... Sales. iTunes, CD single?"

W - "Yep!"

Q - "Fair enough... Where and when will we record?"

W - "I want the spirit of the history in the room, we need to use Henson in LA like the first time... Feb 1. That way no one has an excuse to skip, since the Grammys are right then too."

Q - "Brilliant."





At least that is how I imagined the conversations leading into this shit to be...

This morning, before leaving for work, I actually spent 8 minutes and 33 seconds of my morning coffee-drinking time watching the video, following an intro from Jaimie Foxx and an outro making sure to hit you up for cash...
That is 8:33 that I won't get back... EVER!

Am I to understand that there wasn't enough song to begin with to where they wouldn't NEED to write a rap to accompany?

Am to understand that -- given that this was a 14-hour recording session -- that people wouldn't KNOW the lyrics (which no one over the age of 30 and many under it has any excuse for not knowing), as opposed to standing in the video looking like damned fools?
[Phlip note - that might be why Enrique only got like 4 lines?]

Couldn't Chris Brown and Rihanna have used that publicity and get in on this, or were they not allowed in LA during Grammy time this year?
[Phlip note - did you think I wouldn't?]

What in the hell WERE Q and Lionel doing? It seemed more like they were just there shaking hands and shit, not "conducting" a damned thing. I swear, I stick by my mostly fictitious story above in the opinion that they were only there to save face.

Okay, I understand Will I Am and Kanye Zest, and to a lesser extent LL Cool J, Busta and Snoop Dogg, and must make the unfortunate concession that Wayne DID sell a million in one week... But I must draw the damned line at Fonzworth Bently, Tito Jackson's sons, Bizzy Bone, Plain Pay and Nipsey Hu$$le... This goes not to mention the people whose names I don't even damned recognize, but this reeks of conversations that go more or less like "yeah, I'mma get on the song, but my weed carrier has to at least be in the chorus and video, and named on the Wikipedia Page as participating" and I refuse to believe anything short of that.

How long will this shit be allowed to fester before anyone owns up that it just won't EVER sell 20 MILLION copies like the first one did, despite the ready and simple access presented by Amazon and iTunes, in addition to traditional CD [HEH!!!] singles. I bet that single cost 2-3 bucks in 1985, and about 3% of the representative WORLD population owned a copy. Now, at only a buck, I am willing to bet that millions like myself are going to ignore the free download whenever it comes across my Google Reader.
[Phlip note - that would be if the blog hosting it isn't sent to the round file by Google]



While I understand that 3 weeks is not much time to get a cast together for something of this sort, this whole thing reeks of having been rushed and will be doomed in its failure to re-create what it is attempting to re-create.
No, I am not some jerk who gave nothing to Haitian relief efforts, I donated a cabinet full of canned goods and non-perishables back in January. I did that AT the red cross, where I am sure it would be on the island feeding babies in some days, not at the end of the month when AT&T calculates my cell phone bill for those texts, or whenever Apple and/or Amazon unass the cash for the downloads.
I guess all in all, these people gave their time, which is better than nothing at all.
I just wish they'd have left us with a more positive memory of We Are The World. Or at least one without the creepy Zombie Jacko hologram singing next to Janet.


... I got nothing else.
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