we are the world michael jackson

In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie joined forces to write a song titled, “We are the World.” The hope was for the song to highlight the poverty crisis in Africa and generate much needed aid. The song brought many artists together for a cause and actually created a legacy for other artists to follow.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie jumped all in when it came to creating, “We are the world.” The duo handled long nights and experienced emotions of sadness and empathy during the process.

The idea behind the song came from Harry Belafonte and Ken Kragen. Belafonte a long time human rights activist wanted deeply to help the starving people of Africa, more specifically Ethiopia. At the time, Ethiopia lost over 1 million people to famine from 1983 – 1985.

Belafonte’s dream was to not only help poverty stricken Africa, but to help end hunger in the U.S. as well. The long time activists had heard of a charity song created in the UK that had great success in generating aid for Africa, thus sparking the idea for the project.

The sales for the album were shocking. Less than a week after the release the entire 800,000 copies available were sold.

The single also remained number 1 on many billboard charts for weeks and received multi-platinum status. It is said that “We are the world” is the bestselling single of all time. Over 50 musicians and artists worked on the song. Some artists include Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Willie Nelson, and many others.

In total, over 63 million dollars through album and merchandise sales were made. It was agreed that 90 percent of these sales would go toward relief for Africa and 10 percent would stay in the U.S. Half of the money allocated for Africa went to emergency aid relief, such as ready-made food. The remainder went toward funding programs that would create lasting change for the country.

Thus far over 70 projects have been created in 7 countries around Africa. These projects help in areas of agriculture, fishing, water management, manufacturing and reforestation. The 10 percent set aside for the U.S. helped with hunger relief and homelessness.

Michael Jackson and the many other involved with the production of We are the World, sparked a legacy for other artists to maintain. In 2010, artists gathered to create another song for charity to raise funds for Haiti after a devastating earthquake left thousands dead and injured. The song was called “We are the World 25 for Haiti.”

The song’s lyrics from the original, “We are the World,” were revised and a rap section highlighting Haiti’s tragedy was added. Artists were able to raise money for the thousands of wounded and displaced citizens.

We are the World will continue to represent the coming together of humanity to create change for a better world. The continuation of humanitarian efforts such as this will ensure that countries faced with tragedy, whether it is disease, famine, or destruction will continue to be supported.

Amy Robinson

Sources: YouTube , The History Channel, Song Facts

One Direction and action/2015
In July, British boy band One Direction (Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles) partnered with action/2015 to encourage teens to change the future.

Action/2015 is a coalition of 2020 organizations around the world who undertake issues such as poverty, inequality and climate change. By raising awareness of these issues, they hope that world leaders will affect change.

“Young people really do have the power to help end poverty, tackle inequality and to stop dangerous climate change. Now is the time for us to unite, take action and raise our voices to show that we care about the future of our planet,” the band says.

The band is encouraging fans to post videos where they describe the kind of world they want to live in. The members also participated and posted their own videos.

Louis Tomlinson says, “I want to live in a world where every child can see a doctor when they’re sick.”

Niall Horan and Liam Payne say, “We want to live in a world where every young person has the same chance to fulfill their dreams.”

Harry Styles says, “I want to live in a world where every child can go to school.”

Action/2015 hopes that One Direction’s fan base will allow young people to contribute to global conversations, especially with the upcoming U.N. Summit in New York this September.

Brendan Cox, a participant in action/2015 says, “One Direction is the biggest band in the world and by mobilizing the millions of young people in their fan base they’ll shine a light onto the most important issues of our time.”

The band has already received 77,756 videos. They say, “Time and again our fans have shown how creative and powerful they can be when they unite and that’s why we want to all join together to speak out and hopefully make a real and lasting change to the world around us.”

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Action 2015, Action 1D, The Drum, U.N.
Photo: Flickr

Music has the power to spread messages and awareness. Even further, music has the ability to capture emotions and leave the listener with a particular feeling. Below are lyrics from seven songs that call for hope and love and dream of an ideal and peaceful world.

1. “The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’ “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’ “I love you.”
I hear babies cryin’. I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.”

-(What a) Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

2. “Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.”

-Imagine by John Lennon

3. “Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.”

-Over the Rainbow performed by Judy Garland

4. “We could fly so high, let our spirits never die
In my heart I feel you are all my brothers
Create a world with no fear
Together we cry happy tears
See the nations turn their swords into plowshares
We could really get there
If you cared enough for the living
Make a little space
To make a better place
Heal the world.”

– Heal the World by Michael Jackson

5. “We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true, we’ll make a better day
Just you and me.”

-Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie

6. “We’re begging save the children
The little ones who just don’t understand
Give them a chance to breed their young
And help purify the land
People please hear us (people please hear us)
Through our voice the world knows
There’s no choice.”

-We Got To Have Peace by Curtis Mayfield

7. “There can be miracles when you believe
Though hope is frail it’s hard to kill
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe somehow you will
You will when you believe”

-When You Believe performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey

– Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: A-Z Lyrics, YouTube 1, YouTube 2, YouTube 3, YouTube 4, YouTube 5, YouTube 6, YouTube 7, Personal Excellence
Photo: Flickr


There are plenty of Latin songs from different countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Colombia that address the poverty and hunger situations that the countries are going through.

Many of these songs, more than only addressing a situation of poverty, address political disadvantages and the corruption that some of the Spanish speaking countries face.

These songs vary from sad ballads to rhythmic rap songs. Depending on the topic, some of these songs can have rude language to express frustration in regards to poverty and/or government corruption. Here are some more examples of songs in Spanish about poverty.

7 Songs in Spanish about Poverty

1. “Casas De Cartónby Marco Antonio Solís

Que triste se oye la lluvia

en los techos de carton

que triste vive mi gente

en las casas de carton


Viene bajando el obrero

casi arrastrando sus pasos

por el peso del sufrir

mira que es mucho sufrir

mira que pesa el sufrir 

The lyrics of this song portray the situation of poverty that many people live under. Phrases like “que triste vive mi gente en las casas de carton” (how sad my people live in cardboard houses) and “viene bajando el obrero casi arrastrando sus pasos por el peso del sufrir” (the laborer is coming down dragging his feet because of the weight of his suffering) give a strong meaning to this song.

2. “La Carenciaby Panteón Rococó

Por la avenida va circulando

el alma obrera de mi ciudad

gente que siempre esta trabajando

y su descanso lo ocupa pá soñar

This is a ska song by a Mexican band that talks about the working class and how hard it is to make a living with a minimum wage and long hours of work. “Gente que siempre esta trabajando y su descanso lo ocupa pá soñar” (People that is always working and use their free time to dream) is a reference to the working class and their condition.

3. “Baile De Los Pobresby Calle 13

Tú eres clase alta, yo clase baja

Tú vistes de seda, y yo de paja

Nos complementamos como novios

Tú tomas agua destilada, yo agua con microbios

Tú la vives fácil, y yo me fajo

Tú sudas perfume, yo sudo trabajo

Tú tienes chofer, yo camino a patas

Tus comes filete, y yo carne de lata

In this song, Calle 13 compares both upper and mid-upper classes to poor and working class people. “Tú sudas perfume, y yo sudo trabajo” (you sweat perfume and I sweat work) is one of the references that the song makes to mark the differences among the social classes. He puts himself in the shoes of a working class man to find the differences with upper classes.

4. “El Pobre” by Attaque 77

Y andas perdido entre las marcas de tus manos

miras tu ropa y la que usan los demás

miras la chica que nunca podrás tener

y el chico que aspira el tren mientras viaja en Poxiran.

Tal vez pueda ser, lo que te rodea lo que quieras lo escuchas

Un poco de suerte para el pobre

“El Pobre” (The Poor) is a song from the perspective of the poor. “Miras tu ropa y la que usan los demás” (you see your clothes and the one that the others wear) gives the listeners an insight to what “El Pobre” is wearing and how his clothes are different from those of the middle class.

5. “Gimme Tha Power” by Molotov

Que nos guachan los puestos del gobierno

Hay personas que se están enriqueciendo

Gente que vive en la pobreza

Nadie hace nada

Porque a nadie le interesa

This is mainly a protest song by the Mexican band Molotov against the government corruption and the situation of poverty. “Gente que vive en la pobreza, nadie hace nada por que a nadie le interesa” (People that live in poverty, no one makes anything because nobody cares) protests the conditions in which poor people are living and how the government is doing little to resolve this problem.

6. Que Canten Los Niños” by Jose Luis Perales

Que canten los niños que viven en paz

y aquellos que sufren dolor

que canten por esos que no cantaran

porque han apagado su voz.

This is a song of hope that references children singing about hope and gives a voice to those who cannot speak. “Que canten por esos que no cantaran porque han apagado su voz” (May they sing for those who won’t sing because they have silence their voice) is a way for the song to express the desire to give a voice to those who are silenced.

7. “El Baile De Los Que Sobran” by Los Prisioneros

Bajo los zapatos

Barro más cemento

El futuro no es ninguno

De los prometidos en los 12 juegos

A otros le enseñaron

Secretos que a ti no

A otros dieron de verdad esa cosa llamada educación

Ellos pedían esfuerzo ellos pedían dedicación

Y para qué

Para terminar bailando y pateando piedras

This song has a political meaning and references social inequality topics in Chile. “A otros dieron de verdad esa cosa llamada educación” (They really gave to others that thing called education) is a phrase of the song that marks the difference of social classes and social inequality by portraying the opportunities that some people have over others.

– Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: SinEmbargo, 5 Canciones Sobre, 20 Minutos, Proyecto 100 Canciones
Photo: Domingo

D’Banj is a singer and peace activist who is featured first on #Music4Dev initiated in 2014 where artists use World Bank to share their music. It’s here where artists talk about poverty and encourage their listeners to work together in ending the crisis. One crucial way to help those in need is to spread awareness about the issue, especially to the youth of the world.

Afrobeat music is believed to have been born out of challenges facing Africa in recent years. Other African genres originate from various nations. These styles include rhumba, makossa, kwaito and highlife. Nigeria’s Afrobeat (or Naija beats) was introduced in the late ’60s by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. With different styles originating from various parts of Africa, this genre escalated only recently with a few artists excelling in the industry.

BBC Radio 1Xtra, the Mobos, MTV Awards and numerous African gatherings have acknowledged the latest African music. Modern techniques have also enhanced the life of video and music quality. Artists and telecom companies are making a large profit while the entertainment industry becomes lucrative.

A common production method includes selling music via mobile phone where customers buy ringtones and dial tones. Much like the Western world, another method to promote the artist is to play popular songs constantly over the radio and on television through video. Artists also appear at concert halls to sell their work.

The youth of Africa are believed to represent the future as a digitally-connected generation. Music unites them for a cause. D’Banj uses music to create poverty awareness and rally Africa’s youth to take a stance against the issue.

He is known for his energetic performances and originality having made the UK’s top ten list as the first Afrobeats artist. He was born in Zaria, Nigeria. He taught himself to play his older brother’s harmonica and has been in love with music ever since.

He has succeeded in making himself heard with 1 million Twitter followers. Kanye West, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Big Sean and actor Idris Elba have acknowledged his likability and recorded with him.

Among this recognition, he has also received Best African Act at MTV Europe Music Awards in 2007 and Artist of the Year in 2009 at MTV Africa Music Awards and BET Awards. In 2013, he attended African Union Year of Agriculture and brought together three million people to form advocacy for the alleviation of poverty.

He implored his followers to address their governments and stressed that more needed to be done for agriculture and small farms. He received two million signatures for the Do Agric Global Africa Campaign.

In 2014, he started focusing on African Union Year of Women’s Empowerment. He wrote a song called ‘Extraoridinary” for the cause. As he says in World Bank’s Blog in an article written by Korina Lopez, “Most of the established small-scale farmers that we have are women… You have to look beyond the body to see the extraordinary potential she possesses.”

D’Banj is known for his humanitarian role as an ambassador for In addition, he is an ambassador for Nigerian Agricultural Entrepreneurs and has been appointed Nigeria’s first UN Youth Ambassador for Peace.

He has recently been nominated for the MTV African Music Awards (MAMA) Evolution award. D’Banj was nominated with several others including 2face, P-Square and Asa. This award is meant to recognize artists revolutionizing African music with an influence around the world. The announcement of the winner takes place on July 18, 2015. Fans will vote for their favorite, and D’Banj has an admirable status for this particular achievement.

Katie Groe

Sources: World Bank Blog, World Bank Blog, TED 1 , TED 2 , Pulse, The Guardian
Photo: NET

indigenous music
Raw Music International is a journalistic team consisting of host Cyrus Moussavi, photographer Jacob Russell and others. The team travels the world and lives with musicians in an effort to bring music “from the most innovative underground scenes [they] can find.”

Raw Music’s pilot episode took an inside look into Kenya’s indigenous music scene. Moussavi visited with Kenyan emcees, producers, and guitarists and helped bring attention to their music. In a video on Raw’s YouTube page, Moussavi meets with hip hop producer Vic da Produca.

During an interview with the producer, Moussavi asks why the majority of studios in Kenya he’s been to use Fruity Loops, a relatively inexpensive audio software. Vic Da Produca explains, “Fruity loops is much easier and cheaper. Because we can’t afford instruments. Instruments are really, really, very, very expensive.” Using a computer and CD of Fruity Loops, artists such as Vic da Produca can have access to thousands of instruments at a fraction of the price.

Raw Music also interviewed blind guitarist Olima Anditi and features a live acoustic video of his song “Apoli” on their YouTube page. Several more videos from Kisumu, Kenya artists are featured on the page as well.

NBC News picked up Raw Music’s most recent inside look into Kurdistan’s indigenous music scene. Moussavi describes the area’s music scene as a “rich musical tradition carried out under the most brutal conditions.” Moussavi goes on to describe how under Saddam Hussein’s rule all music, even singing, was considered political and many musicians who refused to give up their culture and stop singing were sentenced to death.

During Moussavi’s visit to Kurdistan he noticed “a musical void” in the country, an absence of what he describes as the “old musicians”. Since the end of Saddam’s regime and the monetary inflow of oil money entering the country, Moussavi explains many have left music behind in favor of capitalistic pursuits.

Moussavi also notes that the focus on capitalistic pursuits may be due to the Kurd’s long history of suffering. He reports that many feel this economic opportunity to be temporary and expect it to end soon. As a result, many have stopped playing music and have started focusing their time on making money.

This has caused conflict for some families. Moussavi interviewed an 18-year-old musician named Mohammad from the town of Kalal, who told Moussavi, “I crave art, but my family says make money. My mother burned my books. They don’t understand.”

Raw Music International provides publicity to artists who may not otherwise be known internationally. These talented musicians play music for the love of it. They are not famous celebrities with exorbitant wages: they truly are musicians and as such deserve the attention all artists do.

The work in Kisumu, Kenya can be described as the beginnings of a masterpiece and in the words of Eli Sketch, a local Kenyan emcee, “What do you draw before you draw a masterpiece? You draw a sketch.”

Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: NBC, Raw Music International, Raw Music International YouTube 1, Raw Music International YouTube 2
Photo: MTV

child labor
Right now more than 168 million children ages 5 to 18 are victims of child labor practices. Of these children, 85 million work in conditions that endanger their health and many are exploited in varying ways.

It is these shocking truths that have motivated the likes of Travis Barker, Pharrell Williams, Mike Einziger of Incubus and world-renowned composer Hans Zimmer, to collaborate on a song titled, “Til Everyone Can See.” The song features Minh Dang, a survivor of child trafficking.

The inspiration for the anti-child labor tune originated from their visit with the International Labour Organization. The ILO is the oldest agency of the United Nations, and their child labor program is the largest in the world. Following the visit, the artists joined the ILO campaign, Red Card to Child Labour.

The campaign’s use of the red card is intentional, as the timing of the campaign lines up with one of the most highly viewed sporting events in the world; the FIFA World Cup. This global symbol of a red card is known for being synonymous with the concepts of wrong and stop, making it an ideal symbol for the campaign.

The song was released on June 12 of this week, which is also the World Day Against Child Labor. The music, written by Einziger of Incubus and the violinist, Ann Marie Simpson, has a global vibe. However, this is not the first time musicians have used such songs to take a stand against child labor.

Similar musical initiatives include Global Music against Child Labor, through which musicians of all genres have dedicated events and concerts to the movement. The awareness these artists raise undoubtedly plays a key part in ending child labor practices.

As the heartfelt song declares “no one can be free when there is slavery…its time to do our part, give children of the world a brand new start.”

— Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: ILO, Look To The Stars, Music For Good, USA Today
Photo: Flickr

Music exists everywhere in daily activities. People listen to music when driving, studying, or relaxing as well as in commercial. Music has the ability to move people in many mysterious ways. The purpose of this article is to discuss the role of music in economic development.

Music is one of the biggest industries in the world. According to International Federation of the Phonography Industry, the music industry sales was $5.8 billion, and performance rights revenue is growing the fastest to $943 million( up from $862 million in 2011). In the emerging world, people are exploring different kinds of music to fit their taste.

In addition, with the increasing use of the internet, it is easier to spread and create a new movement in music. Africa music can get bigger and gain more popularity around the world. Apart from record sales for African music, music can draw other kind of revenue such as concerts, tourist, and sales of band merchandise. The growth in these sectors will create more jobs in the local job market and in Africa as a whole.

Besides, the monetary effect of music on the economy, music can also have an effect on people’s mindset.

Music is the way for people to express and share themselves with others. When people are able to share their opinion with others, African musicians can encourage people to try harder and overcome daily life challenges and reach for higher goals.

Music can also draw attention to African countries and show citizens in developed countries that African is a growing continent not just a sad story for the world.

Nowadays, in Africa, many people are creating labs so that locals can produce music to spread the music effect to others. With low marketing cost, music can produce a steady stream of revenue for the economy and represent Africa in the eyes of people globally.

Phong Pham

Sources: SXSW, Billboard, EthPress
Photo: USAID

Film Tells Story of Exiled Musicians in Mali
In every culture, music is a special way to tell a story.  It says something unique and important about a culture, and is an essential way to connect people.  Music’s importance is seen most visibly in Malian culture, where music is not a profession or a pastime, but a people.  Griots are musicians who tell stories about Malian history, and hold the keys to the past.  In Mali, therefore, music is culture.

In 2012, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa banned all music in Northern Mali.  This movement took over Northern Mali after a violent take over instigated by Islamic extremism.  This music ban forced Malian musicians to either flee the nation or move underground.  As a result, an incredible counter-cultural movement is sweeping over Malian music.

“They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Musicians in Exile” is a documentary currently being commissioned by British director Johanna Schwartz and producer Kat Amara Korba.  The documentary will explore how Malian musicians are seeking to restore music and peace to the ailing nation.  Musicians featured in the documentary will include Khaira Arby (the “Nightingale of the North”,) Manny Ansar (a music festival director), and Toumani Diabate (a 72nd generation Griot.)

The project began shooting in February 2013, near the beginnings of the conflict, and will continue to shoot through April.  The documentary is being independently funded through a Kickstarter Campaign.  The fundraiser officially achieved its goal of 30,000 British pounds on December 7, 2013, but is still accepting pledges to meet production costs.

As stated by Malian musician Fadimata Disco Walet Oumar, “They want to ban music?  They will have to kill us first.”  Mali’s musical rebellion is a testament to the power of expression.

Taylor Diamond

Sources: Kickstarter, They Will Have to Kill Us First

Music has always been one of the most provocative and powerful mediums to promote advocacy and change.  From the protest folk of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, to the Civil Rights soul of Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield, to the politically poignant hip hop of The Roots and Mos Def, music engages us with the issues of our time on an emotional level.

Last week, some of music’s most well known figures joined together to release Songs for the Philippines on iTunes.  Stars both past and present are featured on the album, the proceeds of which will go solely to the Philippine Red Cross to aid in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

Packed with 39 songs (many of which are classics) and a price tag of $9.99, the album makes for a wonderful addition to your holiday shopping list.  Some of the artists included on the album are Bob Dylan, Beyonce, Eminem, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Earth Wind & Fire. Where else can you find such an eclectic mix?  The variety alone makes it a great purchase.

Benefit albums have become a staple for iTunes following natural disasters.  Songs for Japan was released in 2011 to support the victims of the tsunami in Japan.  Much like Songs for the Philippines, Songs for Japan featured a similar variety of artists ranging from John Lennon to U2 to Foo Fighters.  These benefit albums show how the music industry can stand united to support a greater cause.

Of course, that is not to suggest that the artists are randomly chosen.  “This brilliant collection is united by a message of hope and compassion,” according to the iTunes synopsis of Songs for the Philippines.  With titles such as “Hero,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” “Carry You Home,” and of course, “Let It Be,” it’s easy to see such themes.

Songs for the Philippines is a great way to show your support and compassion for the people of the Philippines.  Oh, and in the unlikely event that you already own all 39 songs on the collection, iTunes features a link to the American Red Cross’s donation site for Typhoon Haiyan relief right beside the album.  There is no reason not to contribute.

– Taylor Diamond

Sources: Huffington Post, Spin, iTunes
Photo: Straits Times