DALLAS — “We Are the World: 25 for Haiti,” the all-star remake of the classic 1985 charity single , premiered on Friday night during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. The song features dozens of today’s biggest musical artists , ranging from Kanye West and Pink to Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett, and unlike the original, it also features a large number of rappers . However, the genre’s biggest star said that to him, musically speaking, nothing could ever come close to the original.
“I have a interesting take on that,” Jay-Z said Saturday at the annual “2 Kings” dinner , which was sponsored by Sprite and Bing and took place during NBA All-Star weekend. “I know everybody is gonna take this wrong: ‘We Are the World,’ I love it, and I understand the point and think it’s great. But I think ‘We Are the World’ is like [Michael Jackson’s] ‘Thriller’ to me. I don’t ever wanna see it touched. I’m a fan of music. I know the plight and everything that’s going on in Haiti. I applaud the efforts: [Millions have been raised] through text [donations] to Haiti. So I appreciate the efforts and everything, but ‘We are the World’ is [musically] untouchable like ‘Thriller’ is untouchable. Some things are just untouchable. It was a valiant effort, but for me, it’s gonna be untouchable.”
Jay said he felt that a new song should have been written instead of re-creating the 1985 classic.
“I would have loved that idea better,” he said. “As everyone knows, I have tremendous respect for Quincy Jones. Of course, I think he’s genius, as everyone else does. [But] I think it’s time for us to make a new [song]. I tried to do that with ‘Stranded,’ the song Jay, Rihanna and U2’s Bono and the Edge premiered at the ‘Hope for Haiti Now’ telethon]. I didn’t try to make ‘We Are the World,’ but I tried to make our take on how we felt.”
In fact, Jay and LeBron James spent the early part of Saturday giving back in Dallas. They visited a local Boys & Girls Club and gave out not just scholarships, but words of advice and inspiration telling the kids to pursue their dreams.
The “2 Kings” dinner and afterparty was held at the W Hotel in Dallas. Diddy, Mario Lopez, Terrell Owens, Magic Johnson, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield were among those who attended.
What do you think of Jay’s comments? Do you like “We Are the World: 25 for Haiti,” or should a new song have been created for the benefit?