ÒMen anpil chay pa lou,Ó...
The massive tragedy of the Haitian earthquake has been enormous in scope
but the American and the world's response to that tragedy has been in many
ways just as enormous.
One of the most conspicuous responses was Friday night's charity telethon,
"Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief."
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many celebrities and musicans geniunely united
behind a single cause.
There were more than 100 actors and musicians answering phones in Los Angeles,
and New York.
They took calls after the operators took one's donations.
It was one of the best two hours of live television I have been a witness to
in many many years.
The production and broadcast idea of George Clooney and WyClef Jean
with collaboration from MTV Networks.
The event also featured appearances by President Bill Clinton, Anderson Cooper,
Ben Stiller, Brad Pitt, Chris Rock, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington,
Halle Berry, Jon Stewart, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon,
Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson,
Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks and even Muhammad Ali.
As donations continue to pour in from around the world,
"Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" announced yesterday
Saturday January 23rd that it has raised more than $58 million.
A new record for donations made by the general public through
a disaster-relief telethon.
I especially enjoyed the different renditions of some of my old favorites...
like Shakira's musical message of compassion and unconditional love as she
sang the 1994 Pretenders' ballad "I'll stand by you."
You remember, "I'll stand by you... I'll stand by you... won't let nobody hurt you?"
I had never heard the beautiful and moving rendition of the song that
Mary J. Blige sang, "Hard Times Come Again No More."
Although I did meet this artist at a special taping of David Letterman
after Sept. 11th (but that's another story left for different day).
This song was written more than 150 years ago by the "father of American music,"
The song is meant to strike the careful balance between the celebration of good
fortune and the acknowledgment of hard times and I read it has been
covered by several artists including the late folk icon Kate McGarrigle, Bob Dylan,
Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
I was captivated by Bruce Springsteens take on "We shall overcome,"
and his choice of instrumentation with a guitar, an accordion,
four backup singers and a lone trumpet.
This was an old civil-rights movement song that came from a hymn written
by Charles Tindley a minister from Maryland. Springsteen's raspy vocals
pierced deep as he sang, "We are not afraid today. Deep in my heart,
I do believe, we are not afraid today."
One of my favorite performances came by the unexpected trio of Sheryl Crow,
Keith Urban and Kid Rock as they sang "Lean on Me."
Did you know the song hit #1 on July 8, 1972 (the day after my birthday),
and remained a number one hit for 19 consecutive weeks.
I loved the way they took this R & B song and gave it a county feel.
A catchy "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)," performed by Bono, The Edge,
Jay-Z and Rihanna from a studio in London is currently the #1 song on iTunes
in 12 countries.
The "Hope for Haiti Now" album is now the biggest one-day album pre-order
in iTunes history and is currently the #1 iTunes album in 18 countries.
But what a truly spectacular and entertainling live concert it was; with performances
from Bono, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Sting (who I saw live in a small
underground club in Tyrol Austria back in 1983)... as well as performances by Alicia Keys,
Justin Timberlake, Matt Morris, Madonna, WyClef Jean, Christina Aguilera,
Emeline Michaels, and Taylor Swift to name a few others.
What an incredible show of emotion and celebration of unity and of a sustaining
plea for charity.
I have no doubt that if we work together, we can help lighten the load that our
Haitian brothers and sisters have carried on their own for over two hundred years.
We can finally give them a real chance for a better tomorrow.
Each of us has a stake in Haiti's future.
Although our lives couldn’t be more different, we are a people on this
interdependent planet we call earth.
We are all intrinsically connected and their fate by the sheer proximity as neighbors
is linked with ours.
They need and deserve a stronger, more secure Haiti, which in turn means a stronger,
more independent and secure region. They deserve the chance to build a nation
that will reflect their personal drive, determination, beauty as a people,
and cultural pride.
ÒMen anpil chay pa lou,Ó is a Haitian proverb which translated
means, "Many hands lighten the load."
Go to HOPEforHAITInow.org or text GIVE to 50555 or you can also text
HAITI to 90999 if you haven't already and $10.00 will be charged to your phone bill
with your donation going to the Red Cross.