Update: Ethiopia Celebration Honors Michael Jackson

Update: Here is more on the event from Addis Fortune in
Ethiopia: Local NGO Organizes Event to Celebrate Michael’s
Life (Read More).

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New York (Tadias) – Good Will for Ethiopia, a Virginia based non-profit organization that operates poverty reduction programs in Addis Ababa, is planning a celebration to honor Michael Jackson and his humanitarian contributions to Ethiopia, organizers announced.

“We, the students of Good will for Ethiopia, want to recognize and celebrate his life…he was indeed a humanitarian who raised attention to poverty through his songs: “We Are the World,” and “Man in the Mirror,” and his USA For Africa project,” the group said in a statement.

“We are the World raised awareness towards famine and poverty in Ethiopia. Michael wrote the song and gathered many stars to make it happen. Michael Jackson’s sudden death shocked us all in Ethiopia.”

The event is scheduled for Sunday, July 12th 2009, from 2pm to 7pm at the Exhibition Hall, behind Meskel Square.

For information, contact: Ms. Aster Dawit at adawit@goodwillforethiopia.org. Phone: +09-11-216732 or +09-11-315610

Related: Michael Jackson: What I wish he’d known
Examiner
By Michael McGuire

(With 30 years of experience in journalism, Michael McGuire has been a newspaper and financial editor, entertainment writer and online services coordinator. He can be reached at michaelmcguire@charter.net.)

In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote a song that was to reach the No. 1 spot in about 21 countries. “We are the World” was intended to raise money for and awareness of famine in a number of African nations, with a particular emphasis placed on Ethiopia. A grand concert was to follow later to raise more money. I believe I was able to part with five bucks and wished there was more I could do but it was not possible, at the time. The song and Live Aid remained in my thoughts for many years and, in 1996, my wife and I adopted two little girls from Ethiopia. I frequently find myself feeling I have learned more about life from them than they have learned from me. They are the fulfillment of our lives.

Read more.
“We Are The World”

Michael Jackson with Slash – Black Or White (Live)

Related:
The Song Michael Jackson Co-wrote to Benefit Ethiopia

Above: To raise money for the 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia,
45 popular singers collaborated to record the charity single
“We Are the World”, co-written by Michael Jackson and
Lionel Richie. They included Harry Belafonte, Stevie Wonder,
Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, The Pointer Sisters, Kenny Rogers,
Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Tina Turner and
many more. (Photo: United Support of Artists for Africa)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 28, 2009

New York (Tadias) – The painfully wrenching images of hungry children, which invaded living rooms around the world in the mid 80′s, prompted Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to organize the 1985 Live Aid concert and ‘raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia’. The multi-nation event, which showcased some of the biggest names in the music industry, included Michael Jackson, who co-wrote the project’s signature song “We Are the World” along with Lionel Richie.

The song was recorded on the night of January 28, 1985, following the American Music Awards.

Michael Jackson skipped the A&M Studios ceremony in Hollywood, California in order to prepare the song track as a guide for the rest of the singers, whom he helped persuade to participate in the charity concert. The documentary ” We Are the World: The Story Behind the Song” , described by the New York Times as a film “which examines how the song was written, how producer Quincy Jones and songwriters Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie persuaded some of the most popular performers in America to donate their services to the project…,” highlights Michael Jackson’s important contribution to one of the biggest people-to-people humanitarian projects focusing on Africa. Participating artists included: Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, Bob Geldof, and many more.

A quick search in Wiki about the song reveals an intense moment of artistic conflict during rehearsal:

“The dispute started when Stevie Wonder announced that he would like to substitute a line in Swahili. After a few rehearsals, a full-fledged creative conflict broke out. Geldof pointed out that Ethiopians do not speak Swahili. Michael Jackson then proposed to keep his original line “Sha-lim sha-lingay” but after a few rehearsals, it too ran into opposition, because it does not have a meaning. Eventually Al Jarreau cried, “We can make a meaning” and came up with “One World, our word” which was changed one last time in “One world, our children.”

The following two part video gives behind the scenes look at the project.

13 Responses to “Update: Ethiopia Celebration Honors Michael Jackson”


  1. 1 Rawa Jul 7th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Michael is the true KING OF POP! When Michael Jackson co-wrote the song, Ethiopia was going through one of the most difficult times and over a million Ethiopians died of hunger. It was not necessarily the most proud moment in our history, but something to reflect about and vow not to let it happen again. And to thank those good human beings who stood by us during our darkest moments. So big thank you to Michael Jackson and my deepest condolences to his grieving family.

    I am ready to party with his songs any time…I wish I could be there! My best wishes.

    Rawa,
    D.C.

  2. 2 Addis Feker Jul 7th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I have always loved MJ’s music and “We Are the World” and I knew that it was produced to support famine victims in Ethiopia, but I had no idea that MJ co-wrote the song and reached out to all those big stars to come together. May he rest in peace. I remember meeting Harry Belafonte and one of the Jackson 5 when they came to Ethiopia to hand the funds they raised. They attended the Amharic version of Shekspears’s Othelo play at Mazegagia theater and afterwards Belafonte told Ethio TV that it was one of the best plays he has ever watched, even though he did not understand a word they were saying. In response to the Live Aid concert, Ethiopia sent the people-people cultural dance troupe on an international tour to say thank you to the world. The legend Tilish Gessesse was part of it too and he delivered the musical appreciation from Ethiopians. So thank you again Michael Jackson. We should never forget that we lost over one million Ethiopians in the 80′S due to famine and starvation. We can not hide from it and we should never forget it so as not to allow it to happen again.

    The moral of the story regrading MJ’s early death: Be kind to the living and hardworking – do not wait until they are gone.

    Steve wonder said it best and I am paraphrasing here: I love Michael Jackson and he knows that because I have told him many times. I am at peace with it.

  3. 3 hailu Jul 7th, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Michael jackson was good singer.
    But the live aid and 1984 songs were anti-ethiopia, not pro-ethiopia

    over 80% of the food aid and money aid to ethiopia was stolen by corrupt western NGOs

    and the LIVE AID media exposure was humiliating our country ethiopia. that is why most americans say ethiopia is poorest famine country. it destroyed our reputation

  4. 4 melkamsew Jul 8th, 2009 at 12:54 am

    there are people other than Micheal Jackson who did great Jobs for Ethiopia. i cant imagine why people are always referring Micheal’s single agenda about Ethiopia…and trying to praise him. Hunger shouldn’t make us proud and we don’t have to talk about it and remember it any more….

    anyways, the problem is, some people are crazy for fame, some for money….and these together are diverting the image of Ethiopia to the darkest side.

  5. 5 Selam Jul 8th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    The magnitude and scale of the 1985 famine in Ethiopia was so terrifying that every newspaper in the world carried the story with total shock and alarm at the plight of those defenseless little children. I was a young UN employee at the time stationed in Asia. I remember one morning after picking up several papers with those sad pictures — I just locked myself in my office and broke down. Let alone the west and East, those images are still ingrained in my mind. It was a crime being committed by own people against their own people. The adults were busy playing war games, and messaging their egos while hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian children starved to death. Ethiopia’s leaders embarrassed and tarnished Ethiopia’s image, not the Live Aid concert conceived to help those neglected by their own government. “We are the world” is not secret plot to hurt Ethiopia, it was an open concert to help Ethiopian children. It is time to abandon the secret plan theories and come together as one to eradicate famine from Ethiopia. I am forever regretful of the 1985 famine, but forever grateful to MJ for his immense contributions to alleviate our criss.

    Thank you Michael Jackson and may the higher power provide you with eternal life!

    Selam

  6. 6 MJ Fan Jul 8th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Michael Jackson: Larger in death

    “For it was no secret that Mr Jackson donated his time, talent and finances to the world’s most needy, with probably his most significant gesture being the recording in 1985 of We Are The World, the charity single featuring 45 top artistes that was used to raise funds for famine-stricken Ethiopia.

    In addition to peaking at number one in 21 countries, the single sold 7.5 million copies in the USA, while the album on which it was included, as well as the video and merchandise related to the effort, raised more than US$63 million for famine relief.

    So the outpouring of affection for Mr Jackson, we believe, transcends his music which, no one can deny, was as socially conscious as it was entertaining.

    The world, we are sure, will not forget Michael Jackson, because in death he has become even larger.” – Jamaica Observer Editorial
    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/html/20090707T210000-0500_154947_OBS_MICHAEL_JACKSON__LARGER_IN_DEATH.asp

  7. 7 Abram Jul 8th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    R.I.P MJ! Michael deserves to be remembered, praised and celebrated always, everywhere. What a warm and heart-warming speech by the Rev. Al Sharpton. I still remember his inspiring speech right after the 9/11 tragedy. Lucky us to have around such a warm and honest personality!

  8. 8 FREDERIQUE Jul 8th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I just watched the memorial ceremonies for Michael Jackson and was very moved, especially by the closing “WE ARE THE WORLD. It was not Michael Jackson who had the idea for this effort to uniting as many artists as possible to help diminish the famine in Africa, but HARRY BELAFONTE to whom you do not give enough credit. Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie co_wrote the song and Quincy Jones conducted the singers.The result of this collective union of artists of that time was universal and still is today.

  9. 9 Mehret Jul 9th, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Breif on the comments made earlier-

    Addis Feker- Well said. I salute you !!! Ege Nesechalew. THANK YOU.

    Unfortunately people like Hailu– still don’t get it !!! Sad

  10. 10 Ted Jul 9th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    “We Are The World,”, the song Michael Jackson wrote in 1985 for famine victims in Ethiopia, was front and center during the memorial ceremony as a reminder to all of us of his far reaching humanitarian work, which also extends to serving as an ambassador on behalf of AIDS victims. It is part of his legacy.

  11. 11 George Jul 11th, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    All those artists who participated in Live Aid and USA for Africa were true friends of Ethiopia. They are friends in need. One day we shall built a statue for them and a big cross for all the fallen victims in northern Ethiopia. I hope that one day we will be prosperous and shall extend our helping hands for anybody in need in the world. Thank you MJ, God bless you.

  12. 12 ROmi Jan 1st, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Michael Was an amazing human being.

    And some commentators on here, You should just shut yo mouth cuz Michael was there from the beginning to help Ethiopian Famine. When nobody glanced at us, He was the one who reached out. So don’t sit there and talk about how he didn’t help. Y’all didn’t even do a thing for Ethiopia so you shouldn’t even talk! I’m ashamed to call y’all My people, you don’t have an ounce of appreciation.

    Michael, you are loved and will be Loved and celebrated through the years to come. I love you and Miss you!

    “It’s all for love, L.O.V.E.”

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