Benefit Features News

Musicians & Media Get Involved In Haiti

By now you’ve heard about the devastation in Haiti and the aftermath of the earthquake. Many musicians and media outlets have been doing their part to raise money and I thought I’d fill you in on two music related ventures — Paste Magazine‘s “Songs For Haiti” and MTV’s “Hope For Haiti.”

Paste Magazine is offering those who donate money to the Haiti earthquake relief unreleased songs from diverse artists including Ludacris, Of Montreal, Andrew Bird, Hanson, Low Anthem, Umphrey’s McGee, Switchfoot, Derek Webb and over 200 others. If you’ve already donated you still can still participate (just say where you made your donation) as all will have access to “Songs For Haiti” MP3s. All the money raised through Paste will be spread equally among three charities active in Haiti relief: Doctors Without Borders, The Red Cross and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

“We obviously don’t think people would need incentive to donate in this effort, but perhaps the campaign will inspire more music fans to get involved, or to encourage people who have already donated, to donate again,” said Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine Editor-In-Chief. “Music has always been a force that brings people together, and to have so many fantastic artists drop everything to contribute to this effort was very touching,” Jackson added.

I couldn’t agree more. For more information on “Songs For Haiti” and to donate click here.

Friday night, at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and 7:00 p.m. CT, MTV along with many other networks will host a night of performances to raise money for Haiti relief. The lineup includes Madonna, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Sting, Coldplay, Bono, the Edge, Jay-Z and Rihanna.

Additional appearances include former President Bill Clinton, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson, Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Muhammad Ali, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jon Stewart, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Samuel L. Jackson and more.

“Hope for Haiti Now” will begin accepting donations at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on Friday, January 22 via the following methods:

Phone: 877-99-HAITI
Text: Text “GIVE” to 50555
Mail: Hope For Haiti Now Fund, Entertainment Industry Foundation, 1201 West 5th Street, Suite T-700, Los Angeles, CA 90017

All musical performances will be available for purchase for 99 cents per song through iTunes beginning Saturday, January 23. iTunes customers will be able to exclusively pre-order both the “Hope for Haiti Now” full performance album ($7.99) and the full two-hour video telecast ($1.99). Pre-orders will be delivered in the days following the telethon. All proceeds will benefit relief funds managed by Hope for Haiti Now charities.


Sinead O’Connor and Mary J. Blige Join Forces to Combat Sex Trafficking with New Single

It’s not every day that an artist donates all the proceeds of her song to charity. However, “This Is to Mother You,” a joint venture between Sinead O’Connor, Mary J.Blige and Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is doing just that.

GEMS is a New-York based organization with the mission to empower girls and young women who have experienced sexual exploitation and trafficking and rescue them from the streets. It is the only organization in New York and the largest provider of services in the country to sexually exploited and domestically trafficked girls and young women.

“GEMS serves girls ages 12-21 who have been victims of the commercial sex industry and has been working for the last 11 years to provide services, housing, counseling, etc. but to really change public opinion and perception on who victims are, what they need, what they deserve,” said Rachel Lloyd, founder and executive director of GEMS. “It’s easy for people to forget that’s what is happening to American girls in our country. The song is [in part] to raise support for the program, but is really about raising awareness on this issue.”

“This Is to Mother You,” a powerful ballad written by O’Connor features Blige and introduces Martha B., a member of GEMS. Originally released by O’Connor in 1997, the song has been remastered and produced by Doc McKinney and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

“When I saw the lyrics I fell in love with the song,” said Blige. “All I ever wanted to do is encourage women and know they could make it if I could make it.”

O’Connor agreed. “I think the work GEMS does is fantastic. I hope it inspires people in America to really take this message onboard. But not only in America, in other countries like Ireland and all around Europe because obviously, these are issues that affect people all over the world. Hopefully what will come out of this is inspiration. It’s a real honor for me and a subject I can identify strongly, being a survivor myself.”

A survivor led organization, GEMS’ philosophy is about survivor voice, and “This Is to Mother You” speaks directly to the cause. The track introduces Martha B., a survivor and member of GEMS.

“The song speaks to the alumni, the survivors. It speaks directly to what we’re trying to put out there: letting girls that don’t know yet that they are going to be survivors. That we’re here to mother them, we’re here to support them, we’re here to love them and they’re not alone in this world. We’re survivors. We’re fighters and we will overcome.”

Production-wise, Martha said being in the studio with Blige was a beautiful experience and the track is to mother all the girls that are still in the streets, juvenile facilities and high schools. “The ones that the pimps haven’t gotten to, the ones the pimps are working on, the ones that the pimps have and the ones who have gotten away from their pimps. It’s for everybody. You’re not alone. I’m here, I love you, I care about you. It’s a powerful message and I’m very honored to be a part of this whole experience.”

“This Is to Mother You” is available for download today, where all the proceeds go directly to GEMS. Purchase the track on iTunes here. For more on GEMS visit their Web site.