Where is the love? is a song black Eyed Peas 2003, which we look back on this week in our historical music report. It appeared twenty years ago, but referred to an event that happened two years earlier. Or rather, to the fact. When we talk about 2001, only one episode comes to mind, as if there was only one terrible day: September 11th.
The date is so significant that it itself became the name of the tragic event. America was attacked, and with it the entire West. Social networks did not yet exist, but even without hashtags, this word entered our everyday vocabulary. terrorism, which until then had been sporadic and perceived as distant. Since 9/11, it has suddenly and dangerously come too close to us. Politics and religion intermingle, taking us back even centuries, with the ghost of another expression that no one will ever want to utter again: World War. If those in power were obviously never able to justify this tragedy, then the people were never able to explain it. We’ll never get over this. However, in 2001, we remembered that horror and fear are feelings that, unfortunately, are found not only in some films. After all this time, in addition to the dramatic images of planes crashing into the Twin Towers, everyone still has that feeling of deep melancholy experienced during those years (and, unfortunately, now only geographically displaced). The world was preparing for war as if it wanted it. And yet people would never want this, strong in the values of love with which we were always raised.
This is what the song emphasizes Where is the love?, created in 2003 by an American hip-hop group at the height of the war on terrorism. Two years later, a tragedy occurred for which there was no peace, but which did not even find any other solution than the invasion of Afghanistan, which was opposed by many. With some fears of conspiracies that were already beginning to plague the thoughts of many. The group wanted to send a message against violence of any kind. A message that will come that will finally convince people to listen. For the first time, a very young Fergie sang in the lineup.
The song, written by Justin Timberlake with rappers willi.i.am, Taboo and apl.de.ap, is a prayer to God, to whom we turn with the question of what happened to love. We act as if no one cares about humanity anymore. It’s like no one ever had a mother who taught them certain values. Attracted by everything that can cause injury, indifferent to any drama. Already in the first verses there is a polemic against invasion of foreign countries: it is directly stated that they are trying to fight terrorism somewhere else, but the USA has it at home. Therefore, if we pretend to be ignorant of the dangers of occult cults and the Ku Klux Klan and look only abroad, this means that all this is an excuse to justify a certain racism. At this point, the song makes an attack that leaves anyone defenseless, because it is done from a psychological point of view. They say that hatred leads to madness, but love makes us master our mind, allowing us to meditate. This is why we should only seek love. Hence the call for help to God, with a call that also questions the values that disorient certain events: it is better to turn the other cheek (at the risk of leaving no room for those who want to attack) or to put into practice the theories of democracy that the world preaches, but can’t implement?
And so on, in a series of meaningful phrases, against all selfishness and hatred. “Instead of spreading love, we spread hostility,” the song says, playing on words and giving the message a deep and direct meaning.
Where is the love it was the best-selling single worldwide in 2003; currently ranked twenty-fifth in music of all time. We’ve all sung the chorus, full of serenity and lightness, but sometimes we forget the deeper meaning of the song.
It is curious that he was first in almost all world rankings (in Italy he reached third place), but not in American ones. In the United States Where is the love? it only reached eighth position. Not surprising, given that after September 11, the American government categorically banned the broadcast of many songs on the radio, including those that (in every era) expressed disagreements about the workings of US politics. Luckily, people are much more perceptive and are still able to recognize great successes based on the messages they send. Where is the love? Unfortunately, this song is still relevant. Children are suffering and innocent people are dying, we still hear too much about them. We should listen to music a little more. It was made with love, perhaps it is still capable of conveying some messages.
At this link you can listen to the song with all the lyrics translated into Italian. It’s worth listening to to stop and think again.