United Nations sways to the beat of Imagine as global sing-along project unveiled
It is normally the stage from which presidents, prime ministers and tyrants offer their pronouncements to the world. But on Thursday the podium of the United Nations General Assembly provided the star-studded launch pad for what is being billed as history’s biggest global sing-along.
Katy Perry, Nicole Scherzinger, Idris Elba, will.i.am, Courteney Cox and Angelique Kidjo are among the dozens of famous names recruited by the UN children’s agency Unicef to sing a line each from John Lennnon’s biggest solo hit Imagine to mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on Rights of the Child.
As the video played, invited guests and dignitaries stood, swayed and sang at seats normally occupied by sombre-faced officials as disco lights filled the chamber of the world’s diplomatic talking shop.
In a novel twist to the classic charity celebrity video, Unicef is offering the ultimate in mass audience participation by inviting any aspiring singer to record their own contribution via an interactive digital application.
David Guetta, the French superstar disc jockey, will then mix together the lines sung of stars and members of the public alike for a final collaboration to be released for sale on New Year’s Eve.
“This is a fantastic project and it’s great to be part of it here today,” he told The Telegraph after also announcing that future proceeds from a new version of Chiquitita would be donated to girl’s rights projects with Unicef.
“The older I get, the more radical I become. I want to see things done and there is nothing more important than children’s rights and girls’ rights. Imagine a world where men and women, girls and boys are equal. It should not be that hard.”
Unicef sought the support of Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono who enthusiastically provided it as she appeared on stage for the launch.
“A dream you dream alone may be a dream, but a dream two people dream together is a reality,” Ono told the audience. “Think peace, act peace, spread peace and imagine peace.”
The digital application on the Unicef website uses voice activation to allow anyone to take a recording as they sing Imagine and then insert the video alongside Lennon and the celebrity singers.
Even Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, makes his contribution, accompanied by a choir.
Anthony Lake, the Unicef executive director, told The Telegraph that the goal was not just to raise money but also awareness about the plight still facing children in many countries a quarter of a century after the convention was signed.
“Millions and millions of children in countries across the world have benefitted enormously from advances in health and education in the last 25 years,” he said.
“But too many children are still facing huge challenges. As we celebrate and are inspired by the progress of these 25 years, we also recognise how much we have to do.”
The #IMAGINE digital experience will be available via the TouchCast app for iOS on the App Store on November 20, or at http://imagine.unicef.org
The full list of participants:
Regina Wilson – NYFD (US)
Angelique Kidjo – Singer (Benin)
Nicole Scherzinger – Singer (US)
Cody Simpson – Singer (Australia)
Sigrid Agren – Model (France)
Danny O’Donoghue – Singer (Ireland)
Roarke – Singer (US)
Idris Elba – Actor (UK)
Francois Alexander, Jenny Bapst Boussaut, Kate Naut, Samantha Rex – Singers (France & US)
Lance Bass – Singer (US)
Dash Mihok – Film/TV actor (US)
Priyanka Chopra – Actress/Singer (India)
Suki Waterhouse – Model (UK)
Craig David – Singer (UK)
Zelda Williams – Actress (US)
Joan Sebastian – Singer/Songwriter (Mexico)
Adam Lambert – Singer (US)
Nasri – Singer (Canada)
Maria Gabriela de Faria – Actress/Singer (Venezuela)
Ban Ki-Moon – UN Secretary General (South Korea)
Professional Performing Arts School Choir Members – School Choir (NYC Public School)
Family School Students – International Students (NYC based)
David Guetta – Music Producer/DJ (France)
Courtney Cox & daughter – Actress (US)
Doni & Akai Floyd – Mother & Daughter (US)
Mari Malek – DJ Stiletto/Activist (South Sudan)
David Arquette – Actor (US)
Isaiah Mustafa – Actor (US)
Scott Foley – Actor (US)
Sam Martin – Singer (US)
Bianca Yuzon – Singer (The Philippines)
Justin Bartha and baby Asa – Film/TV actor (US)
Eric Christian Olsen – Actor (US)
Antonella Barba – Singer (US)
Rumer Willis – Actress (US)
Katy Perry – Singer (US) – Perth
Seth Green – Actor (US)
Rebecca Da Costa – Actress/Model (Brazil)
Butch Vig – Music Producer (US)
Antonique Smith – Actress (US)
will.i.am – Musician/Entrepreneur (US)
Taye Diggs – Broadway/TV/Film actor (US)
Patricia Arquette & daughter Harlow Jane – Actress (US)
Ben Barnes – Actor (UK)
Rob Kazinsky – Actor (UK)
Tokio Hotel’s Bill Kaulitz – Singer (Germany)
Dianna Agron – Actress/Singer (US)
Tony Lake – Executive Director of UNICEF (US)
Ore & Neave Segal – Sons of Edo & Ayelet Segal (US/Israel)
Yuna Kim- Figure Skater (South Korea) – Seoul
Eden Espinosa – Broadway Actress/Singer (US)
Sunidhi Chauhan – Bollywood Singer (India)
Nina Dobrev – Actress (Bulgaria)
Julian Morris – Actor (UK)
Poe – Singer (US)
Sanaa Lathan – Actress (US)
Amy Brenneman – Actress (US)
Trevor Jackson – Singer & Actor (US)