35 years ago, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and over 40 other recording artists recorded “We Are the World.” The song inspired Americans to raise $63 million dollars in charity towards African famine relief efforts. In honor of its anniversary–and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic–Lionel Richie wants to get the band back together.
“Two weeks ago, we said we didn’t want to do too much,” Richie told People Magazine. “This is not the time to sell an anniversary. But the message is so clear.”
Richie, who now serves as a judge on American Idol, noted the divisiveness within modern-day politics. “We were back to there are ‘those people’ and those people,” he said. “If you find yourself saying ‘those people then you are not thinking properly.”
In 2010, artists updated the song in an effort to assist victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Richie says he tried to write a different unity song but hasn’t succeeded just yet. “Every time I write another message,” he said, “I write those same words.”
Active shelter-in-place orders will likely prevent the recording of an updated version. Until then, Richie will continue to preach a message of unity across borders.
“What happened in China, in Europe, it came here,” he said. “So if we don’t save our brothers there, it’s going to come home. It’s all of us. All of us are in this together.”
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