Today, January 28th, is the 30th anniversary of the release of the recording, We Are The World/USA for Africa. It was re-released in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but with a new lineup of singers. The original production featured artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. The later version, 25 for Haiti, featured more current artists who were talented as well, many of whom brought a distinctive rap style of their own to the project. To name a few, they included, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, L.L. Cool J, Will.i.am., Busta Rhymes, and Kanya West. Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus were among the young pop representatives in the group. Not so much my particular taste, but creative, and very well produced.
I’d recently seen Snoop Dogg perform in a concert on TV, and, even at his advancing age he was still unapologetically selling his theology of dope as the great cure-all for life. I was reminded of his participation in the 25 for Haiti recording, and his influence on the world around him.
Considering my admiration and appreciation for many of the artists involved in the We Are The World projects, I do take exception to the inclusion of Snoop, who has, probably more than all of the other artists combined, modeled for, encouraged, and led young people all over the world into the same drug indulgence, and subsequent addiction, that has so seriously inhibited the development of his own life and mentality. He continues to do so to this day. So, on the one hand he’s helping raise money to rebuild a people, and culture in collapse and decay, and on the other hand, in his concerts, and with his records, he’s raising money for himself while encouraging the collapse and decay of the lives of young people, the impressionable, the misguided, and the misinformed. I’ve got no appreciation for that at all.
Now, I don’t know Snoop. I only know what I see and hear from him. But for that I call him Soup Dogg, and I think Soup might be the personification of the person I’ve mentioned on occasion who sets minimally low standards for himself, never failing to live up to them, assuring that he will never be labeled as a hypocrite?
“But”, you say, “He recently bought some football equipment for some kids in South Central L.A. to help keep them out of gangs.”
And I say, “Yeah, but so what!” Is he trying to justify his negative influence on a couple of generations by enabling a few kids to play football? He’ll have to do better than that.
Get a clue, Soup! Your world is gravely conflicted. How about issuing an apology to the families of those young people you have led, and continue to lead, down that yellow-brick road? When you participate in an endeavor such as the recording for Haiti you must also remember the young people you have influenced to their own detriment. Speaking for them I must remind you that,‘We Are The World’ too.
I know it may seem as if I dislike you, Soup, but I don’t. In fact, I think you’re probably a very likeable guy. I just hope you’ll eventually get it right. With your charitable actions and concerns you’re getting the ‘Do good’ part down. Now how about completing the admonition to Do good, and Avoid evil?