Hoping to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic claiming 5,000 African lives each day, artists including Bono, Wyclef Jean, Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Fred Durst, Missy Elliott, Gwen Stefani and Mary J. Blige have come together to record an all-star rendition of Marvin Gaye’s protest anthem “What’s Going On.” While the organization hopes to release the re-vamped Gaye single on December 1st, Global AIDS awareness day, they are currently without a record label.
Recorded at a New York studio in early September, the collaboration was the brainchild of Leigh Blake, head of Artists Against AIDS Worldwide. Blake also co-founded the Red Hot Organization, which has released thirteen AIDS benefit albums since 1990.
Global AIDS Alliance is hoping to link the project with other efforts to raise awareness about the crippling debt some of Africa’s poorest nations owe to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Western Governments.
Bono was the first to sign on for the recording. Blake says that, with Bono’s help, recruiting other artists came easily. “This is our generation’s cause — they’re younger, they’re less apathetic and more aware of the situation in Africa,” she explains. “These artists have a voice, and it’s a voice for change.”