This week on the music beat

By Evan Serpick and Rob Brunner
Updated October 19, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

What's Going On: All Star Tribute

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  • Music

GOT TO ‘GIVE’ IT UP The title of Michael Jackson’s ”We Are the World”-style single — a benefit for victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy — is ”What More Can I Give?” Well, how about word on when we’ll hear it? In a Sept. 17 press release, the singer claimed Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and others would participate. But with still no sign of the song, some are wondering if the project is in trouble. No, insist Michael’s minions, who provided EW with a list of guest artists they say have already lent their voices, including Destiny’s Child, Nick and Aaron Carter, Usher, and Mya. Well, not so fast: Destiny’s Child have not recorded and will not be a part of ”Give,” says their publicist. A Miami session with Usher and Mya was scrapped at the last minute, although it might be rescheduled. And Spears and Timberlake won’t participate either, according to their spokesperson. Still, there has been some progress. In addition to the Carters, Reba McEntire, Tom Petty, and Brian McKnight have all laid down vocals. ”It’s all the good parts of what ‘We Are the World’ was, musically speaking,” offers McKnight. Jackson’s rep says there will be both English and Spanish versions. And to that we say, ”Pronto, Jacko!”

GOT IT ‘GOING ON’ Speaking of healing songs, the mood and message of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 hit ”What’s Going On” couldn’t be more timely. An all-star roster, led by U2’s Bono, recorded a remake of the song in early September, with proceeds earmarked to combat AIDS in Africa. But the events of Sept. 11 led organizers to divert some funds to families of victims of the attacks. While a video for the song, culled from footage of the recording sessions, is airing on MTV, director Jake Scott just shot a new clip that will debut later this month. In it, artists like P. Diddy, Gwen Stefani, and others are shown wearing blindfolds that they strip off to reveal a series of thought-provoking words like ”Hindu,” ”woman,” and ”patriot” on successive layers of cloth. ”My intention is to disqualify these labels entirely, in an effort, however idealistic, to annihilate inequity, prejudice, and scorn,” says Scott. Ja Rule wore a blindfold with the words ”Jew,” ”celebrity,” ”Republican,” and ”radical.” When the rapper uncovered his eyes after several takes, he was startled by the lights. ”That woke me up,” he said. Said Scott: ”Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?”

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What's Going On: All Star Tribute

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  • Music
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