‘Social Justice’ Anthems Planned for U.N. Party as Star Declares: ‘Racism Is So Linked to Capitalism’

U.n. concert Beninese singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo performs onstage during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards pre-telecast show on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty

Musicians from around the world will next month sing the praises of the United Nations on its 75th birthday in an online event titled Peace Through Music: A Global Event For Social Justice.

Grammy-winning singer Angelique Kidjo (pictured) is a key organizer of the concert, needed she says because “racism is so linked to capitalism” and the U.N. represents the best hope for an egalitarian world of peace and understanding.

“Music has that absolutely powerful side to it that sometimes when I finish a concert, I’m like, ’Why can’t we just live like this?’” said the singer-songwriter from the West African country of Benin, AP reports.

Kidjo said she has already lined up a host of other stars to join her songs of U.N. praise.

The Facebook Live event will feature performances by Annie Lennox, Becky G, Brandi Carlile and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, Ringo Starr, Run The Jewels, Sheila E, Yo-Yo Ma and more.

It will raise money for the Playing for Change Foundation, the U.N. Population Fund, Sankofa, Silkroad and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

“We’ve created a world with billions of people suffering and a minority of people are living on top of them. And if we want to live in a world of peace, we have to take care of Mother Nature and at the same time take care to get people out of poverty,” Kidjo told AP from her home in Paris.

For the online concert, Kidjo teamed up remotely with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Gabriel to sing the latter’s anthem “Biko,” about a South African activist who was killed in detention in the 1970s.

Kidjo said the song’s message directly connected to this year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

“Racism is so linked to capitalism and we have failed to address that issue for so many, many, many years and centuries, I think from slavery all the way to today, that it becomes a cancer that is eating our societies,” said Kidjo.

AP contributed to this story

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