Go Lean Commentary
33 is an important number for music. This is the speed that a record-album spins on a record-player.
33 years ago, today – January 28th, 1985 – the record industry spun a new thread. The industry spun its biggest world charity endeavor, to date, to mitigate famine in Africa, in response to a drought in Ethiopia. This was the collaborative effort – by more than 40 artists – to record the song: We Are The World.
See the story in the Almanac entry here:
Almanac: “We Are the World”
… From our “Sunday Morning” Almanac: January 28th, 1985, 33 years ago today … the day more than 40 of the music world’s greatest stars gathered in a Los Angeles studio to record the song “We Are the World.”
Written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones, the song was a fundraiser for the relief group USA for Africa.
The artists were told, “Check your egos at the door.” And did they ever.
Twenty-one of them each got a turn singing a solo line, while more than 20 others made up the chorus.
More than nine million copies of the song have been sold or downloaded. It won four Grammys, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
And most important: USA for Africa says the song has generated more than $65 million for humanitarian relief.
For more info:
- USA for Africa
- “We Are the World” (USA for Africa), available on Vinyl (Amazon), Digital Download (Amazon, iTunes) and Streaming (Apple Music, Spotify)
Source: CBS Sunday Morning – Almanac: This Day In History – Posted & Retrieved January 28, 2018 from: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/almanac-we-are-the-world/
VIDEO – U.S.A. For Africa – We Are the World – https://youtu.be/9AjkUyX0rVw
Published on Apr 12, 2010 – Music video by U.S.A. For Africa performing ‘We Are the World’. USA For Africa
This moment, movement, momentum and music changed the world!
This super-group United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa played on the brand “USA”, but truthfully, they could have called themselves United States of America, as all the participants – see Appendix below – were Americans … except for the Irish vocalist-producer Bob Geldof in the chorus, plus percussionist Phil Collins (England) and percussionist Paulinho da Costa (Brazil).
Yet still, this collaborative effort made a difference!
They raised money and ensured the distribution of food stuffs to the ravaged areas of Africa. They used music to change the world!
Can we use music to change the world again? How about changing the Caribbean? How about shaping the culture?
Yes, we can! Why? ‘We Are The World‘.
Its ironic that despite all the available talent, there was no Caribbean representation in that assembly of artists that day, none except for Harry Belafonte. He boasts a legacy of a Caribbean parentage from a Jamaican mother and Martiniquan father; (though he himself was born in Harlem, New York). For ‘We Are The World‘, he sang in the chorus.
This consideration is in line with the 2013 book Go Lean … Caribbean. The book relates that music and a movement can change the world again. It serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This CU strives to advance Caribbean culture using the application of societal best-practices – and music – to engage these 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.
The Go Lean book – available for download now – prescribes a plan for each Caribbean country to grow their musical influence. The book further identifies 169 different musical/national combinations of genres throughout the region. So the complex music landscape in the region does not stand still; it evolves. So too their musical artists.
Music can indeed wield a great influence and impact on the world. (Previously, this blog-commentary detailed the influence of music icon Bob Marley). Natural disasters continue to happen, as ‘We Are The World‘ was in response to a natural disaster – a drought – in Africa 33 years ago. We continue to have natural disasters … today. Just recently, late September 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated several Caribbean member-states; Puerto Rico was gravely impacted. In the mode of ‘We Are The World‘, many artists – led by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame – assembled and recorded a song to aid Puerto Rico, entitled ‘Almost Like Praying‘ by Artists for Puerto Rico.
Lesson learned! The same as ‘We Are The World‘ was mostly an American art form, Puerto Rico was able to convey its brand.
See the VIDEO of the song ‘Almost Like Praying‘ by Artists for Puerto Rico here:
VIDEO – Like Praying feat Artists for Puerto Rico [Music Video] – https://youtu.be/D1IBXE2G6zw
Published on Oct 6, 2017 – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying” was written and recorded to benefit hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico with proceeds benefiting The Hispanic Federation’s Unidos Disaster Relief Fund
Proceeds go to https://hispanicfederation.org/unidos/
“Almost Like Praying” Lin-Manuel Miranda feat Artists for Puerto Rico Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda © 2017
“Contains elements of “Maria” Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim ©1957, Renewed.
Vocals Performed by (listed alphabetically):
Marc Anthony Ruben Blades Camila Cabello Pedro Capo Dessa Gloria Estefan Fat Joe Luis Fonsi Juan Luis Guerra Alex Lacamoire John Leguizamo Jennifer Lopez Lin-Manuel Miranda Rita Moreno Ednita Nazario Joell Ortiz Anthony Ramos Gina Rodriguez Gilberto Santa Rosa PJ Sin Suela Tommy Torres Ana Villafañe
Percussion by: Eric Bobo Correa
Executive Producer: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Proceeds to the Hispanic Federation UNIDOS Fund for Puerto Rico
- Category: Music
- License: Standard YouTube License
The movement behind the Go Lean book asserts that “one person can make a difference“, and that music can shape culture. So just like Bob Marley, Lin-Manuel Miranda should be recognized for his contributions to music, culture and Puerto Rican (Caribbean) identity. This one character has made a difference, he has shaped American culture and forged an example and a sample of how other Caribbean stakeholders can do more in the arts to impact the world – ‘We Are The World‘.
Yes, as related in a previous blog-commentary, we – in the Caribbean – can build a city on “rock-and-roll”.
Early in the Go Lean book (Page 15) in the Declaration of Interdependence, the contributions that music can make is pronounced as an community ethos for the entire region to embrace, with these statements:
- Whereas the cultural arts and music of the region are germane to the quality of Caribbean life, and the international appreciation of Caribbean life, the Federation must implement the support systems to teach, encourage, incentivize, monetize and promote the related industries for arts and music in domestic and foreign markets. These endeavors will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.
The Go Lean book, within its 370 pages, details the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the next generation of artists. This roadmap recognizes that a prerequisite for advancing society is a change in the community ethos, defined as “the fundamental spirit of a culture that drives the beliefs, customs and practices” in society. Music should be appreciated for its ability to shape the culture of a community, country or even the whole world.
Thank you Quincy Jones and all the 40-plus United Support of Artists for the model for ‘We Are The World‘ 33 years ago; you set the pathway for success for new collaborations of talented, inspirational and influential artists who are sure to follow, even here in the Caribbean. We used that pattern for Puerto Rico; hopefully more Caribbean communities to follow.
We want “a change to come” to the Caribbean. So we need to accept the premise that was echoed musically 33 years ago, that ‘We Are The World‘. We hereby urge the people, institutions and governance of Caribbean region to “lean-in” to this Go Lean roadmap for change and empowerment. ‘We Are The World‘ and we want to make our part of the world – the Caribbean – a better place to live, work and play. 🙂
Appendix – USA for Africa Artists-Musicians
Conductor: Quincy Jones
Source: Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia Retrieved January 28, 2018 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Are_the_World