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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/19/09

Mandela Day – Star Studded Gala Concert Celebrates Mandela's 91st Birthday

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Amandla Awethu!



Standing outside of Radio City Music Hall along the red carpet, the stars kept coming. Will.I.Am, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Gaynor, Jesse McCartney, Josh Groban, Lil' Kim, Loyiso, Sipho Mabuse, Forest Whitaker, members of the Soweto Gospel Choir, Wyclef Jean and those were just the ones who didn't opt to skip the red carpet and enter Radio City via the back entrance.



Those stars, joined by Alicia Keyes, Queen Latifa, Stevie Wonder, Morgan Freeman and various others had come to New York to honor Nelson Mandela on his birthday and to exhort everyone to give of themselves to support Mandela in his efforts to create a mass movement to service for our fellow human beings.



Just having these stars announce each other and perform would have made the night spectacular. What was being celebrated and how that inspired the lineup of megastars to give career best performances made the night a once in a lifetime event. A few performances stood out even on a night where each was special, but only in the way one rated a 10 out of 10 would stand out versus a 9.9 out of 10. Queen Latifa's rendition of "I know where I've been" reprising her singing the same tune in the movie "Hairspray" was as perfect an execution of any song that one is likely to see. I watched the version from "Hairspray" on YouTube a moment ago for comparison and while the "Hairspray" version was good, the rendition from Mandela Day was superhuman. When Ms. Latifa finished, the crowd clapped raucously and roared its approval.



Another of the standouts was the amazing duet of Cyndi Lauper and Lil' Kim performing Lauper's hit "Time after Time". I would never have thought of that combination but their voices sounded great together. I didn't want that song to end. I also have to say that after seeing her perform at Mandela Day I have come to understand the European fascination with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Still photos, as good as she looks in them, do not do someone like her justice. Before I get myself into trouble by continuing my description, I'll let this YouTube video do the rest of my talking for me regarding Madame SarkozyÂ If I were the French, I would not expect President Sarkozy to be traveling much abroad, at least not without the first lady.


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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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