Quincy Jones, producer, and Lionel Richie, co-writer, of the iconic 1985 philanthropic anthem “We Are The World,” today announced details surrounding the world premiere and global distribution of the contemporary version of the song and accompanying video We Are The World 25 For Haiti. Recorded on February 1st in the same studio as the original 25 years earlier (Henson Recording Studios, formerly A&M Recording Studios) the new version, in which Jones and Richie serve as executive producers and producers, was created in collaboration with executive producers Wyclef Jean, Randy Phillips and Peter Tortorici; producers Humberto Gattica and RedOne; and co-producers Rickey Minor, Mervyn Warren and Patti Austin to benefit the Haitian earthquake relief efforts and the rebuilding of Haiti. This production was made possible through financial support from Visa Inc.
The world premiere of We Are The World 25 For Haiti will air during NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics this Friday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 C.T. Shortly after the premiere, details about a multi-network international roadblock simulcast will be announced.
Academy Award-winning writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), whose own personal efforts as well as those of Artists for Peace and Justice have already saved countless lives in Haiti, filmed the private recording session to create the accompanying video and “behind-the-scenes” production, and serves as Film Director and as an Executive Producer with Jones, Richie, Jean, Phillips and Tortorici.
Following the world premiere, fans will immediately be able to download the song and view exclusive footage from the recording session on the official website: WORLD25.org. Downloads will also be available on iTunes, and through a partnership with YouTube, the video will be viewable on the “We Are the World 25” YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/wearetheworld). Immediate donations will be made possible by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on YouTube or by downloading the song on iTunes.
Commented Jones, “It warmed my heart to see that the experience during the recording of We Are The World 25 For Haiti embodied the same enthusiasm, sense of purpose and generosity as the original recording 25 years ago. Every one of the artists who participated, regardless of genre or generation, walked into the room with their hearts and souls completely open to coming together to help the people of Haiti. Through the contributions of their voices to this new rendition of ‘We Are The World,’ and with the help of our partners, the We Are The World Foundation will be the most transparent not-for-profit foundation ever created.”
“When I was first approached about recording a new version of We Are The World, I was lukewarm because the first effort was so iconic, then Haiti happened and I realized that this was the kind of crisis for which the song was originally written,” said Richie. “The new version takes the copyright to a different place while staying true to the iconic nature of the original. What a better way to help rescue our Haitian brothers and sisters in distress, bring a heightened awareness to that country’s plight and needs, and bring some of the world’s greatest talent together. The result speaks for itself so DOWNLOAD TO DONATE!”
All proceeds will go to the We Are The World Foundation, a newly created not-for-profit organization founded by Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie whose other board members will include Wyclef Jean, Paul Haggis, Randy Phillips, Peter Tortorici and Ambassador Luis Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank. The Foundation is dedicated to raising money and making grants to charitable organizations with meaningful and efficient relief and development programs that are responding to the continuing crisis in Haiti. Charities are currently being identified whose relief programs best fit the Foundation’s vision of marshalling the support of the community for the benefit of the victims of disaster and poverty. Grants will soon be made and the funds put to work towards charitable and relief efforts. Until then, The Foundation will hold and guard the funds dedicated to this important work.
“I am touched by the enthusiasm and support we are seeing from the entertainment community,” said Wyclef Jean. “With the continued efforts of the global community, we increase our chances of successfully bringing Haiti much needed relief; and taking the next step in reconstructing a 21st century Haiti.”
“Careers are often measured by the positive effect of one’s actions on the human condition, not just by the accumulation of wealth,” said Randy Phillips, President & CEO, AEG Live. “When AEG Live and I were asked to help squire this effort by Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones, we knew this would leave an indelible mark on our souls and on the rebirth of the island nation of Haiti. Our mantra throughout the entire process was simply: FOR HAITI!”
Upon its original release, We Are the World quickly became the fastest selling single in history and in the years that have followed, USA for Africa has raised and distributed more than $63 million in revenue from the sales of more than 7 million units of the album, single and cassettes, plus nearly 2 million digital sales and related merchandise. Just over half the total was spent on emergency relief (food, medicine, and refugee services) and the balance was used to support more than 500 different relief, rehabilitation and development projects in 18 different countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We at GroupM are honored to provide our support to make We Are the World a vibrant global platform that shows what the power of creativity, community and media can do to help the people of Haiti in their valiant recovery from this tragedy,” said Peter Tortorici, CEO GroupM Entertainment Worldwide.
FremantleMedia, the company behind the Idol, Got Talent and The X Factor TV brands, has generously offered to work with WATW25 on the international distribution of the full music video to the secure the maximum impact globally and will coordinate its efforts with GroupM, the world’s leading media investment agency group in distributing the video content WorldWide.
The 25th Anniversary recording will help further the spirit of activism around the 25th Anniversary of We Are the World that was at the heart of the original song and movement.