NetAid Concerts Gain Puff Daddy, Busta Rhymes, Sheryl Crow, Sting

President Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and ex-South African President Nelson Mandela help unveil project's website.

NEW YORK — The massive NetAid anti-poverty concerts

scheduled for next month became even more star-studded with the

additions Wednesday (Sept. 8) of Puff Daddy, Busta Rhymes, Mary J.

Blige, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi.

U2 singer Bono, veteran rocker David Bowie and rapper Wyclef Jean, who

were already onboard for the Oct. 9 event, appeared with Puff Daddy

and producer Quincy Jones at a midtown Manhattan press conference to

promote NetAid and launch its official website (www.netaid.org).

"It's like the yellow pages of [poverty] aid in cyberspace," Bono said

of the website, which will webcast the three concerts scheduled to be

held simultaneously in London, Geneva and East Rutherford, N.J.

President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former

South African President Nelson Mandela appeared at the afternoon press

conference via satellite to help unveil the website. The three world

leaders were the first users to visit the site.

A song that Bono and Wyclef wrote and recorded as the official song

for NetAid, "New Day" (RealAudio excerpt),

was premiered at the conference, along with a video featuring both

artists. The two were scheduled to perform the song Wednesday night at

the New York club Copacabana as part of a benefit show for Wyclef's

charity organization, the Wyclef Jean Foundation.

The NetAid concerts also will feature such stars as singer/songwriters

Jewel and Sheryl Crow, ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, former

Police frontman Sting, rapper Busta Rhymes and rock groups Bush and

Counting Crows.

Proceeds will mainly benefit refugees in Africa and Kosovo, but

organizers said the primary goal of NetAid is not to raise money,

but to raise awareness of global poverty, primarily through the Web.

"The Internet has made it easier to go shopping," NetAid organizer Don

Mischer said in August. "The Internet ought to make it easier for

people to get involved."

Bono (born Paul Hewson) used Wednesday's press conference to draw

attention to the cause of Third World debt relief, which he has

supported through his work with the NetAid-affiliated coalition

Jubilee 2000.

"I'm here principally because NetAid supports debt cancellation —

we're not going to hold hands and extreme poverty will go away," Bono

said.

Haitian-born Wyclef said he and Bono had become good friends since

recording "New Day." "[Bono's] not really from Dublin, he just tells

people that," Wyclef joked. "He's really from Haiti."

Sean "Puffy" Combs, who hours before the press conference had pleaded

guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court to harassing a record executive,

said NetAid's cause had awakened him to the issue of world poverty.

"Living in the U.S., sometimes you black out the darkness in the rest

of the world," said Combs, who, along with Bono, wore sunglasses

throughout the conference, held inside Manhattan's Millennium Hotel.

"Hopefully everybody coming together will just open the eyes of

everybody."

In freewheeling remarks, David Bowie compared poverty to a prison:

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." Bowie attributed

the quote to Thomas Paine, although it's actually from philosopher

Jean Jacques Rousseau's "The Social Contract."

Jones, whose production credits include albums for self-proclaimed

king of pop Michael Jackson, announced the lineup for the concerts.

Wyclef and Bono are scheduled to perform together at Giants Stadium

in East Rutherford, N.J., on a bill that also includes Blige, Busta

Rhymes, Puff Daddy, Page and Counting Crows.

Bowie, Bush, Eurythmics, Robbie Williams, George Michael and

Stereophonics are among the acts on tap for Wembley Stadium in London,

while Bryan Ferry and Texas are scheduled for the Palais des Nations

in Geneva. It has yet to be decided where Sheryl Crow and Jewel will

play, organizers said.

Tickets for the New Jersey concert go on sale at 9 a.m. EDT Friday

through Ticketmaster. Tickets are already on sale for the London show;

the Geneva show will be invitation-only.

NetAid was created by the technology company Cisco Systems and the

United Nations Development Programme to promote efforts to counteract

world poverty.

NetAid Lineup:

Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.:

Mary J. Blige
Bon Jovi
Busta Rhymes
Counting Crows
Wyclef Jean with Bono
Jimmy Page and friends
Puff Daddy
Sting with Cheb Mami Zucchero

Wembley Stadium, London, England:

Bryan Adams
David Bowie
Bush
Catatonia
The Corrs
Eurythmics
George Michael
Stereophonics
Robbie Williams

Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland:

Bryan Ferry
Des'ree
Michael Kamen
Texas