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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

On Friday, NBC permiered a recreation of the infamous ‘We Are the World’ video during the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics. The new version of the 1985 performance showcased some 85 artists, all singing for charity because of the recent earthquake in Haiti.

The video is interspersed with actual footage from Haiti and footage of the artists recording the song. I think the footage from Haiti is perhaps the most touching aspect of this whole project. It shows children and their parents coming together, shots from the wreckage, and a positive vibe coming from the people of the affected area.

Some of the arists participating in this musical statement are Celine Dion, Carlos Santana, Wyclef Jean, Usher, Kanye West, Pink, and even Jeff Bridges. Michael Jackson, who participated in the original ‘We Are the World’ performance, was also thrown into the mix, with clips of him singing and sister Janet Jackson singing along to his part.

Check out the video:

Despite all the positive messages it is sending, there has been much controversy surrounding this performance. Many fans argue that a recreation should not have been necessary and that there is no way to top the original video. Either way, it is a very stunning, touching tribute that has meant a lot to the victims of the Haiti earthquake and their families.

The only negative thing I can say is…why the rap in the middle? It kind of ruins the vibe a little. Don’t get me wrong, Snoop Dogg has every right to participate in this, but it sort of cheapens the performance.

Your thoughts?

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

 

For today, I’ll jump on the cool train and post about Michael Jackson. And I begin with this: Why is it that artists who die always release new music again and again? How can they possibly have that much saved up, unreleased stuff?
Could this creeper still be creeping? Photo from nytimes.com.

Could this creeper still be creeping? Photo from nytimes.com.

Look at Tupac. That guy has been dead for years and he keeps coming out with new albums. Well now, Michael Jackson has hopped on board, too. His newly released song, called “This Is It” debuted last night at midnight for all MJ fans to hear. Now, the word is that there may be tons more of his music to follow.

Apparently, the song he left behind only contained his vocals and piano parts, so the rest of the song has been built up electronically. According to the New York Times, the song will run during the closing credits of MJ’s new movie, also called This Is It. What a coincidence!

A chairman of Columbia records, Rob Stringer, said that the label has over 100 songs that are close to being finished. Where is all this stuff coming from?

I heard a rumor when Michael Jackson died — that he faked his own death and is now living with Elvis in a very remote location in England. He is planning the comeback of the century and will eventually announce a tour after he announces he never died in the first place.  Hmmm….

Just throwing that out there. You decide.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

We all remember last Thursday when celebrities started dropping like flies. First came Farrah Fawcett, then Michael Jackson, but then Harrison Ford and Jeff Goldblum, too? Say it ain’t so!

If you’re starting to freak out right now, don’t. It was just a hoax. Harrison and Jeff are alive and well. But why are people so inclined to make up rumors like this all of a sudden? Is it because death is becoming the ‘cool’ thing to do?

Why is it that when a celebrity dies, they instantly become ten times more famous than they were when they were living? Think about this…really. When Michael Jackson was living, people thought he was a creepy child molester. Now that he’s hit the dirt, everyone is up in arms and telling affectionate “I remember when Michael Jackson did this…” kind of stories.

But still, let’s thank our lucky stars that Jeff Goldblum has a sense of humor about his own ‘death.’ He reportedly fell off a cliff while shooting his latest movie. This, he cleared  up when he recently appeared on the Colbert Report.

And what about that smashing stud Harrison Ford? He was reported dead on board during a cruise. Nope, not our Indiana. It’s just not his time yet.

Maybe in death, these guys will continue the trend of exploding popularity, but I think most people would rather enjoy them while they’re alive.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Okay, I guess I should really say something about Michael Jackson’s death. I was trying to avoid that, but it seems too big of an issue to let slide. After all, most every newspaper, online and print, have devoted at least a small portion of their front pages to the star. Some have even given him the luxury of an entire arts section.

Here are my thoughts—First of all, I should say that it is a real shame MJ passed away. He did possess very real talent and definitely deserves the respect that so many people are now giving him after his death. His music has been a staple of our culture that we cannot deny. So many of us have had wonderful memories dancing the night away to songs like “Thriller” and “Billy Jean.”

However, I should also say that just because you are a rock star, you should not be entitled to break the law. What’s good for the average American citizen should also be good for you. In this aspect of MJ’s life, I have the least respect, if any.  Being a ‘smooth criminal’ allowed him to get away with touching little kids. There’s a real problem there.

And let’s not forget when Michael changed his skin color, wore surgical masks all the time, and started talking like a little girl. Come on, that was just weird.

I will forever remember the young MJ, singing “ABC” and dancing around the stage with his siblings. I will remember the teenage MJ, singing “Beat It” and rockin’ out with his bad self. The later years of his life will remain a mishmosh of strange antics and funky appearances. I will block that out.

Respect, MJ.

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