Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Jamie Foxx Mimics Ray Charles in New ‘We Are the World’


The new version of “We Are the World” went up on iTunes last night, and you can see it everywhere at 2 p.m. Saturday. Get all the info at

Justin Bieber opens the song, but is followed in quick succession by Jennifer Hudson – who just about steals the whole recording. Quickly we see and hear Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, and of course Barbra Streisand.

One of the many treats of the new recording: Jamie Foxx. He gets a solo as himself early on, and then later cracks J-Hud up when he’s imitating Ray Charles. It’s a nice nod to the original record from 1985.

And yes, there is a lot of Michael Jackson, his voice ringing clear and true. I don’t know if much can be said for sister Janet, who seems to be mouthing the lyrics and not really singing. In the long form video, there’s also not terribly impressive vocals by Michael’s nephews. Ouch.

But Fergie and, Wyclef Jean–singing in Haitian, and plenty of others get face time. Gladys Knight doesn’t have a solo but she’s front and center in the video as is Natalie Cole. Adam Levine from Maroon 5 has a nice solo, and Pink does, too. Carlos Santana gets lost a little bit in the mix. But with 85 artists, what can do you?

All in all, it’s a brilliant effort considering it was made ten days ago. Director Paul Haggis has cut in moving footage from Haiti, and producer RedOne did an excellent job with a rap section in the long version. Now it’s time for the downloading to begin–$2.99 gets you the song and the video from ITunes, and all the money goes to Haiti. All of it.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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