A modern take on classic anthems like Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For” and Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World,” new song “Why Oh Why” is channeling the wish of a new generation for a world with less violence. “Why Oh Why” is a potential nominee for the Grammy ® Awards new 2023 “Best Song for Social Change” category, and its timing couldn’t be more meaningful. The recent school shootings, the Russian-Ukrainian war, and as the hip-hop community mourns the tragic death of Takeoff, yet another artist gone far too soon. A dream team of singers and rappers including French Montana, Fantasia, Kenny Lattimore, Grammy ® Nominated Emily Estefan and Five time Grammy ® nominated CeeLo Green have come together under the vision of Raffles van Exel (along with producers Narada Michael Walden and Emilio Estefan) to use music as a plea to make the world a better place. As Kenny Lattimore has shared about the project, “I want ‘Why Oh Why’ to make people stop and listen with open hearts. I want the listener to think about the diverse artists that have come together and hear how unified we are in sound and be inspired that we can live the same way, in unity and harmony.”
In addition to the potential Grammy ® nomination, fans of this touching song have visited the “Why Oh Why” Social Change booth at this year’s Jingle Ball in Los Angeles. As Raffles explained in a recent interview, “This is a project of love. With everything happening in the world, we have to make a change. ‘Why Oh Why’ is one of those songs and one of those lyrics that is echoing what the children are asking: ’Why can’t we get together?’ It’s a positive message and a cry for help.”
The star power of this song is unmatched, with the multi-platinum selling and Grammy ® nominated French Montana, five time Grammy ® award-winning CeeLo Green, Grammy ® nominated Kenny Lattimore and Grammy ® winning Fantasia alongside the multi-talented Emily Estefan. These artists are beyond excited that “Why or Why” might be bringing home yet another Grammy ® as Best Song for Social Change. But the voices of the children and the message of the song are the true stars. As CeeLo shared in a recent interview about “Why Oh Why,” “I view the world as both a realist and an optimist. The reality is in all things we must have balance, but divine order is thrown off by ignorance and ill intention. I still believe love can conquer hate and my aspirations for social change are an affirmation that all hope is not lost.”
Song creator Raffles noticed that it seems to take a mass tragedy such as Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 or the war between Russia and the Ukraine for humans to really come together and support each other. But he believes with the right artists joining forces and harnessing the power of music, a movement for peace can blossom without a tragedy as the driving force. “It shouldn’t take a catastrophe for us to start caring about each other again. ‘Why Oh Why’ is so different because we are trying to bring some positivity into a negative world,” elaborates Raffles. “Music is a world language, a universal language. Unfortunately a lot of music has been promoting negativity, but music is that thing that should lift us up. That is exactly what ‘Why Oh Why’ is about.” Raffles is now leading this movement as part of the Artists for Global Unity, a collective of musicians working together for social change. Follow them here to join the movement!