Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Ringo Starr, Patti Smith and Yoko Ono have come together with 200 other rock legends and cultural heroes to declare We Are Not Afraid, in a new video targeted to raise funds for victims of religious and political violence around the world.
Creator/organizer Steve Weitzman says We Are Not Afraid gives a voice to those whose voices often go unheard. Originally created as a 4-minute video, so many notables signed on that it needed to be lengthened. Enter legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen who expanded it into an 8-minute video. “It’s a positive statement in a negative world,” says Gruen who served as director. “I hope it becomes something that inspires people around the world to do their own versions. You shouldn’t go through life being afraid.”
Weitzman says, “my long-time friend Bob Gruen — who was a very early supporter of this project and brought it to Yoko Ono’s attention, resulting in her becoming the campaign’s very first participant — immediately offered to put together the long form We Are Not Afraid video when told of our plan. And for that we are deeply grateful.”
Set to a catchy tune, “We Are Not Afraid” penned by Nigerian singer-songwriter Majek Fashek, the music video shows all the stars holding signs bearing the slogan We Are Not Afraid. It is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and other major outlets with all proceeds being donated to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The campaign has enlisted a group of participants that reads like a Who’s Who including Dr. Jane Goodall, Iggy Pop, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Chuck D, Galactica, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Darlene Love, Debbie Harry, Dion, Elvis Costello, Grandmaster Flash, Jeff Tweedy, Shep Gordon and Susan Sarandon.
The original 4-minute video directed by Kevin Godley had to be expanded to accommodate the flood of rock stars that wanted to take part in the campaign.
All are lending their voices in advocacy for the “We Are Not Afraid” campaign in response to the global refugee crisis and victims of religious and political violence.
“We’re alarmed by the hateful and dangerous rhetoric coming from politicians across Europe and the United States,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “We must not allow the rising threat of racism and hate to violate our most basic principles of humanity. We’re moved and grateful that so many artists are speaking out and standing with us for human rights.”
David Millband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee added, “We applaud the efforts of the hundreds of public figures who have invested their time and talent to provide critical aid to help refugees and raise awareness about their plight. When too many politicians are trading in fear it is heartening to see people of renown and credibility standing up for hope.”
“We’re all together now!” said artist and peace activist Yoko Ono in reflection of the superstar talent that has joined forces around one powerful statement: “We Are Not Afraid” to stand against the countless acts of violence, hate, discrimination and abuse witnessed globally.”
American rock and country singer-songwriter Steve Earle offered, “We are a nation of immigrants, MOST of whom were refugees from one human tragedy or another. The very idea of closing our hearts and our borders out of fear of newcomers is the death of the American Dream itself.”
Refugees in some of the world’s wealthiest nations face some of the poorest and most dire conditions as they seek asylum. It is with urgency that the “We Are Not Afraid” campaign affirms the need to help unite all global citizens as one to provide aid and respite. Participating artists acknowledge and herald the critical need to address and support those who most need their voice.