Star Studded Version of “What’s Going On?” (2001-09-06)

Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child, ‘N Sync, No Doubt and Christina Aguilera are among the stars set to appear on a new version of the Marvin Gaye classic What’s Going On.

Bono has been instrumental in recruiting some twenty leading recording artists to tape a new version of the song to raise the profile of people suffering with AIDS in Africa.

The artists, many of whom are in New York for tonights MTV Awards, were due in a New York recording studio today. Producer Jermaine Dupri, who has worked with Michael Jackson, will mix the track. Proceeds from the single, set for release on December 1st, World AIDS Day, will help fund health clinics in parts of Africa hit by the disease.

According to an early report in The Boston Globe, Bono and other movers behind the new single, are looking far beyond money raised from sales – instead they are linking the recording with a grass-roots campaign for the US Congress to pass a US$1-billion appropriation for the new Global AIDS and Health Fund.

Each single is likely to include a postcard inviting US record buyers to lobby members of Congress in support of the AIDS fund.

‘Everyone says it’s a long shot, but then again everyone in the Bush adminstration keeps saying, ‘We’re still working on our policy,’ said Paul Zeitz, cofounder of the Global AIDS Alliance, a coalition of activist groups based in Washington. ‘The bottom line is what we do. If we get the grass-roots mobilization going, we can make a serious push for the money.’

The song, written and produced by Gaye in 1971, was chosen for the power and relevancy of its lyrics to Africans with AIDS, a disease that was unknown at the time of the original recording. Zeitz said it fits the urgency of the situation in the developing world, where an estimated 3 million people died last year of AIDS.

‘We want the money, the $1-billion, from the U.S. government now, not next year,’ he told The Boston Globe. ‘If we wait a year, another 3 million Africans have to die.’

More on the Global Aids Campaign at

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