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Hands Across America was a charity event organized by USA for Africa in order to raise money for food banks and homeless shelters in the U.S. The goal of the event was to form a continuous chain of people holding hands across the continental U.S. Participants would donate to reserve a spot in the chain as well as purchase commemorative t-shirts. Hundreds of celebrities participated including Oprah, President Ronald Reagan, Prince, and Jane Fonda.
The concept for Hands Across America was partly conceived by Ken Kragen, a music manager and producer. Kragen had previously been instrumental in another USA for Africa fundraising event, We Are the World, in which Micheal Jackson and Lionel Richie recorded a song by the same name. Hands Across America would turn out to be far less successful than We Are the World. Its goal of creating a chain of people across the U.S failed as rural areas in the southwest lacked the necessary people. The song, "Hands Across America," would also prove to be unsuccessful as it did not have any big pop stars attached like, "We Are the World." Overall, Hands Across America would raise 15 million dollars, 35 million less than anticipated. This movement was featured in the movie, "Us," by Jordan Peele.
Klein, C. (2018, August 22). Remembering Hands Across America. Retrieved April 11, 2020, from https://www.history.com/news/remembering-hands-across-america
Wolf, B. (2006, June 6). Great Shakes: 'Hands Across America' 20 Years Later. Retrieved April 11, 2020, from https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/WolfFiles/story?id=2044810&page=1