USA for Africa

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USA for Africa
We Are the World alternative cover.jpg
Logo of USA for Africa
Background information
Also known asUnited Support of Artists for Africa
OriginUnited States
Years active1985
Past membersSee Performers

United Support of Artists for Africa (USA for Africa) was the name under which 47 predominantly U.S. artists, led by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, recorded the hit single "We Are the World" in 1985. The song was a U.S. and UK number one for the collective in April of that year.[1]

The idea started when Harry Belafonte was inspired by Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?". Belafonte then contacted Ken Kragen to recruit participants.[2] Soon after, Quincy Jones was hired to conduct and co-produce the album.[3]

The considerable profits from the enterprise went to the USA for Africa Foundation, which used them for the relief of famine and disease in Africa and specifically to 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia.[4]

USA for Africa also held a benefit event, Hands Across America, in which approximately seven million people held hands in a human chain for fifteen minutes along a path across the continental United States. Participants paid ten dollars to stand in line and the money raised was used to fight hunger and homelessness in Africa.[5]

The combined revenues raised from the sales of "We Are the World" and Hands Across America was almost $100 million.[6][7]

We Are the World album[edit]

Michael Jackson (left) and Lionel Richie (right) led the group.

We Are the World, their only album, released with the following tracks:

  1. "We Are the World" - (USA for Africa)
  2. "If Only for the Moment, Girl" - (Steve Perry)
  3. "Just a Little Closer" - (The Pointer Sisters)
  4. "Trapped" - (Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band)
  5. "Tears Are Not Enough" - (Northern Lights)
  6. "4 the Tears in Your Eyes" - (Prince & The Revolution)
  7. "Good for Nothing" - (Chicago)
  8. "Total Control" - (Tina Turner)
  9. "A Little More Love" - (Kenny Rogers)
  10. "Trouble in Paradise" - (Huey Lewis and the News)


Group members Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson in public with fans.


Australian climate protest in 2019

USA for Africa has had a lasting legacy. It has been used as a symbol for the 80s and unity. Every year the group raises half a million dollars. It has been suggested that a new group similar to We Are the World 25 for Haiti be formed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[8] Since the death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, and numerous other members it has been speculated if the group will ever reunite again.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Breihan, Tom (28 September 2020). "The Number Ones: USA For Africa's "We Are The World"". Stereogum. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  2. ^ McDougal, Dennis (26 January 1986). "USA FOR AFRICA: READY TO HELP THE USA". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  3. ^ Runtagh, Jordan (28 January 2019). "Flashback: Music Stars Record 'We Are the World' on January 28, 1985". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  4. ^ May, Clifford D. (26 June 1985). "'WE ARE THE WORLD' MEETS A CONTINENT OF MISERY". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  5. ^ Klein, Christopher (22 August 2018). "Remembering Hands Across America". History. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  6. ^ Staff Reports (27 September 2013). "USA for Africa: Making a Difference Since 1985". Borgen Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  7. ^ De Atley, Richard (6 January 1987). "USA for Africa Spent Money Slowly". Associated Press. Retrieved 20 November 2022.

External links[edit]