Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
It's that time of year...when holiday stations play the song "Do They Know it's Christmas" nearly once every hour. As I child I had no clue what this song was about. Now I do, and the lyrics are now mildly hilarious to me. In 1985 a whole bunch of UK artists collaborated under the leadership of Bob Geldof, rock-star-turned-humanitarian(?), to participate in a concert called Band Aid which would raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. The song "Do They Know It's Christmas" was a product of this concert.
Piggybacking on the success of Band Aid, American musicians collaborated under the lead of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie to create the song "We are the World". After its release in 1985, it allegedly raised over $63 million for humanitarian relief in seven countries in Africa. Of the 90% of the funds pledged toward African relief, most of it was put towards efforts in birth control and food production - Hmm. In addition, in 1985 a cargo flight dropped a whole bunch of SWEDOW in Ethiopia and Sudan, including 15,000 t-shirts (and some actually useful stuff too like medicines and high-protein biscuits).
Philanthropic music did not end in North America and Western Europe, no! Never forget those caring Yugoslavs who collaborated on the song "Za milion godina" which was released in 1985 during Yugoslavia's own version of Band Aid. In the video above, I can't help but to laugh at the man who introduced the song and YU Rock's activities because he repeatedly makes statements like "We organized a rock concert for the famine-stricken population of Africa" and "We have two ships sailing to Africa" - He may be unaware of this, but Africa is very large. Having two ships headed to Africa is vague. He never mentions Ethiopia or any specific locations of where famine was actually occurring This makes me wonder, did these artists even realize what they were raising money for besides "Africa"?
Heavy metal artists were feeling a bit left out after their under-representation in both Band Aid and USA for Africa, so they collaborated on the song 'We're Stars' and released it on January 1, 1986. The song raised allegedly $1 million for famine relief. If you listen to this song, you might struggle as I did to locate its relationship with either Africa or aid.
And now, since Africans had no voice whatsoever in any of the videos above, I bring you their perspective:
Africa for Norway - Radi Aid
"People don't ignore starving people, so why should be ignore cold people? Frostbite kills too". This video has already been circulated almost everywhere, but just in case you haven't seen it, it is brilliant and it gives a far better representation of most of Africa than does the videos and songs above.