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Timbaland To Lead ‘World’ Charity Remake
Timbaland plans to revisit the USA For Africa charity project “We Are the World” to raise funds for worldwide HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs. The hip-hop artist/producer confirmed the plans Monday night (Oct. 27) at the second annual YouthAIDS Gala in New York.
Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott will co-write the new version, which will be titled “The World Is Ours.” Like the original, which involved an all-star roster of more than 40 vocalists, a cast of contemporary artists is being recruited for the project.
Due in spring 2004, “The World Is Ours” is being made with the blessing of Quincy Jones, who produced the original. Beat Club Records will release the single, which will be distributed by Interscope. Proceeds will benefit YouthAIDS and Jones’ Listen Up Foundation.
A “The World Is Ours” video will premiere on VH1, the official media partner for the project, and MTV. A VH1 special about the recording of the song is also planned and an accompanying DVD will be produced by QD3, Jones’ son.
Inspired by Bob Geldof’s all-star U.K. Band Aid benefit recording “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” in 1985 Harry Belefonte conceived a stateside version, USA For Africa, to further raise funds to fight famine in Africa. Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote “We Are the World,” reportedly in just two hours, and Jones produced the recording session. Among the participants were Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Willie Nelson.
Released by Columbia, the single reached the top of The Billboard Hot 100. The accompanying album, which also boasted previously unreleased tracks by Prince, the Pointer Sisters and others, hit No. 1 on The Billboard 200. The project raised $90 million for famine relief in Africa.
“I see this as a passing of the torch. I will use the legendary model of ‘We Are the World,’ but update it in a way that works for the trends of the music industry today,” Timbaland says in a statement. “Just as Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson did, we will create an anthem with today’s most talented artists to produce a song that will bring the world’s attention to the AIDS pandemic.”