Monday, October 5, 2009

Stevie's sweater is super fresh

I taught this video in a workshop I gave at NYU yesterday (which was also hands-down one of the illest extended moments of my life) and received rather dope feedback from the folks in the room. We all, in our own way, described what takes place in this video as one of those rare instances of utopia in performance. No ego, no barrier between genre, vocal styling, race or gender, no ploy to bombard Americans with subliminal advertisements for products they don't really need.

Here, it was only Quincy Jones and his magic hands. A river of shimmering voices doubling its strength to dilute the power of a global epidemic. Seeing Springsteen and Stevie in the same screenshot still gives me chills to this day. In the workshop, we discussed whether or not "We Are The World" could happen in 2009. Who would be there? What would the song sound like? Who would take Quincy and Michael's place in not only organizing the event, but bringing all of the disparate voices into a triumphant harmony? In a sense, these are not solely logistical questions, but theoretical ones as well. What such an event would require is the type of selflessness and departure from divahood that few major figures in music seem ready to embody. To do so would fly in the face of the very "swag" that has helped fuel their careers to the astronomical heights they have reached. Sometimes humility and love are simply bad business. But, who knows? Maybe I'm wrong.

I hope I'm wrong.


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  2. I hate to be the cynic, but in many ways a selfless image is better than a selfish one.

    Just look at the Kanye and Taylor incident. Even though I question his sincerity, his apology was an instance in business where the appearance of humility trumps that of obnoxiousness.

    The most successful stars have an aura of confidence, not cockiness. And the consumers are the ones to judge between true greatness and delusion. Rarely does a person buy an album of some deadbeat who thinks he's great. That's where aspiring stars go wrong. They've put the cart before the horse. And that's the difference between the Jay-Z's and Lil Wayne's, and the rest of them.