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
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
"I'm here principally because NetAid supports debt cancellation
we're not going to hold hands and extreme poverty will go away," Bono
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
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
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.:
Mary J. Blige
Wyclef Jean with Bono
Jimmy Page and friends
Sting with Cheb Mami Zucchero
Wembley Stadium, London, England:
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland: