“What happened in China, in Europe, it came here. So if we don’t save our brothers there, it’s going to come home. It’s all of us. All of us are in this together,” he said.
Two weeks ago, we said we didn’t want to do too much [about the song] because this is not the time to sell an anniversary/ But the message is so clear," Richie added.
The original version was released in 1985, and featured artists like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and more. It was written by Jackson and Richie, produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian, and released by the supergroup USA for Africa.
The 1985 song was produced to help raise money for famine relief in Africa, and was remade again in 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti.
Richie told People the use of the word “we” in the song was a purposeful choice for both he and Jackson. “That line came about as Michael and I were sitting there talking,” Richie said. “We said, you can either say, ‘I’m saving my life’ or ‘We’re saving our lives.’ “We Are the World” is a statement we wanted to make. What do we do to save our own?”
Speaking on writing a new rendition to fit today’s climate, he said, “Every time I try and write another message, I write those same words.”
However, it doesn’t appear that everyone is as excited as Richie about the possibility of a remake. The reaction online was similar to the one sparked by Gal Gadot's celeb-stacked take on John Lennon's "Imagine."
A number of other celebrities have given back in seemingly more effective ways. Ryan Reynolds and Black Lively donated money to food drives, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian gave money to a Chicago charity to help them expand their meal deliveries to the elderly, and Donatella Versace and her daughter pledged money to Milan’s San Raffaele Hospita, among others.