A Climate Change with Matt Matern Climate Podcast


33: Ken Kragen’s Legacy: Music, Philanthropy, and Climate Solutions

Guest Name(s): Ken Kragen

Guest host Max Sloves speaks with Ken Kragen about his iconic projects, We Are the World and Hands Across America. Kragen shares insights on organizing these initiatives and their significant impact.

He introduces Hands Around the World, aiming to tackle climate change by engaging a billion people using holographic technology to virtually join hands with celebrities. Kragen emphasizes the urgency of climate action and invites support. The interview highlights his dedication to impactful philanthropy.

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The idea for “Hands Across America” was given to Ken Kragen by a PR executive working pro-bono on “We Are The World.” He said “Don’t laugh but what if we put a continuous line of people together holding hands from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic?” Kragen responded, “I’m not laughing.”

Welcome, my name is Max Sloves. I’m an attorney with Matern Law Group, and I’m sitting in for Matt Matern today for Unite and Heal America. And what a day, I have the exciting opportunity to speak with Ken Kragen, a man whose resume is prolific, but who many might know from his efforts to create and bring to life iconic moments in global philanthropy and fundraising, such as we are the world, Hands Across America, that ID and Live Aid. Ken, welcome.

Happy to be here. Pleasure, this is a topic that I really really care about, is we got to save the planet at the moment. But I’m just delighted what you’re doing in terms of uniting the country. That’s a big effort of mine over the years.

Well, you’re you’re no stranger to the effort, Ken. And I understand it. Now you are working on hands across the world. But before we get to that, I was hoping we could we could contextualize this concept, these global concepts by discussing some of the work that you’ve done in the past.

For example, We Are the World in 1985, you brought together some of the most iconic artists of their time to collaborate for a single cause. Did you have any thoughts now looking back now, as to some of the challenges the motivations that went into a project like that there were so many people with so many egos and agendas and tour schedules and recording dates, but you got them all together.

But I was in a unique position in that period of time. In the early 1980s, I represented people like Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, who I had Kenny for 33 years in line, oh, for eight or nine, and so on. I had some of the biggest stars in the world. So you know that the fact of the matter was when Harry Belafonte called me and said, We got to do a concert to feed these people in Africa. I already had tried that, without any luck putting groups together what Geldof ultimately pulled off.

Cuz I operate on a couple of principles. One is, it’s easier to accomplish the impossible than the ordinary. And the other one, which we can talk about separately, at some point is called the magic of threes. But the idea that you can accomplish the impossible, much easier than you can the everyday thing is because people pay attention to the impossible. They may be talking about how crazy you are. You’re never going to do that. It’s just what you just said, how do you ever pull that off?

And yet, people pay attention at the least. They the average person and the media are all gone. He’s nuts. And I’m Lionel Richie once said in one of my classes that I teach at UCLA said, the more they call you crazy, the more you know you’re gonna be successful. And because they’re talking about it, because the end, in this case, I was able to go, you know, Belafonte calls, he says, Let’s do this. I said now, you know Geldof in England has already set the chorus for us.

He he created this record, Do They Know It’s Christmas? It looks like they’re raising $10 million from this one record to help. Starvation in Africa. We’ve got I represent some of the biggest artists here in the world. We’ve got an opportunity to do that and even do it bigger and better. And, and so he hung up, and I literally called Kenny Rogers. He said I’m in and I got in the car and drove to Lionel’s house, which I was scheduled to do to pick him up to take him to meeting with Dr. Clark because he was hosting the American Music Awards in a month.

And on the way to the Clarks I realized, hey, we do this tonight of the American Music Awards. The artists are all going to be in town. They’re going to be performing on the show. All they have to do is come over afterwards and record Dick love the eye dad would help him get some of the artists that he thought he might not get. And we were off and running and Belafonte literally called me back two days later.

And he said, Have you thought about what I we talked about last? Just before Christmas? Oh, and I skipped a really good story. The great story is I wanted Lionel to write this song with Stevie Wonder. And so I lied on that on the phone and couldn’t reach Stevie and he tried to all night. The next morning the day before Christmas. Lionel’s then wife Brenda is in a jewelry store looking for jewelry, and Stevie Wonder walks in to pick out gifts.

And he goes to Brenda I don’t know if he thought she was an employee or I knew it was Lionel’s wife. And he says can you You helped me pick out stuff. And she says, Not until you call my husband back. So they get Lionel and he’s in a dental chair. He’s he’s getting, he’s getting a tooth filled. And Stevie agrees. And in the meantime, I have gotten on the phone and I’ve found Quincy Jones, a dear friend, and said, Will you produce?

And he said, Yes. And Michael Jackson. I said to him, Well, you get him to perform on the record. Book, Quincy cute. We call him Q and Q calls back. He says Michael not only wants to perform on the record, he wants to write it with Stevie, Stevie and Lionel. So when Belafonte calls me two days after Christmas, and says, Have you thought about it? I say, Well, we’ve done a little more than think about it. I have a record being produced by Quincy Jones as being written by Lionel Richie. I thought Stevie Wonder he disappeared.

So he didn’t actually write it. But I said Lionel Richie, Quincy, I mean, Stevie Wonder. And my client. And and Michael Jackson are writing the song. I don’t think he was sort of speechless. He said, I’ve got to go to Europe from the next month. But I’ll be back before that date in late January, I’ll be there. And we were off and running. I mean, I set a goal every day for for the month of January, of getting two major artists to sign on.

And I actually only wanted 15 or 20, we ended up with 45. But that was because Quincy added people that he wanted was great vocal chops. And Michael came in and said, I’ve got to have my family. So just about everybody in his family joined the group. And then you know, Huey Lewis and the News, he said, I’m not coming unless you have the news there. So I had the guys in the group who nobody knew, but who were there.

So it it built, I went from, you know, having to accommodate maybe 15 or 20 people to 45, which was quite a different experience. We had to really keep all the people that come with those artists, in a separate part of a&m records a big studio there. Yeah, go ahead.

I was just gonna comment on on how amazing that is. I think it was Lionel Richie’s smile. And it’s hard for me to imagine him having a cavity. So he has a terrific team. But also just, you know, the Kismet, the celestial clockwork, of running into Stevie Wonder at a jewelry store right at that time. It’s such a phenomenal story. And it I think it speaks to, to shooting high. You know, seems like you got these luminaries on board. And then all the other pieces fell into place.

Well, there is one moment when it really came together. And that was John Landau manages Bruce Springsteen. And I called him and he said, Oh, God, Bruce has just gotten off of a two year tour, he’s going to be exhausted. I don’t see any way of him become. And I said, John, look, there are kids dying every single day by literally 1000 A day in Africa at the moment. We need to do something. You personally can feel responsible if you can get Bruce to be part of it.

He called me back a few days later and said I talked to him and he said there’ll be there. From the moment I had Bruce Springsteen there are those magnetic artists, or, or celebrities for any cause. If you get the right key celebrity. It opens all the doors. I never made an outgoing call after the day, Bruce said yes. All the rocker and it’s there’s a Lionel Richie line, a great line. You are who you hug. And everybody wanted to be there hugging Bruce Springsteen.

I have photo after photo of people hugging Bruce Springsteen. And he he also saved the day. That’s another thing that happens. Great projects, a I think last projects just happened which sort of speaks to your point of Lean if you shoot high enough somehow or other. And if it’s good enough, and the karma is good enough, you can really make it happen. But the night before, the manager of one of the big rock artists came to me and said they don’t like the song.

And they don’t want to stand on the stage next to the non rockers. They think it’ll somehow diminish their hipness. So we’re leaving, but he didn’t say who? He claimed he had half half. Had all the rockers. They went to Springsteen and Springsteen. He said, No, I came out here to feed people. I didn’t come out here to walk away.

I came out here to save lives. And sure enough, he drove up that night in his own car parked car. So Brea fought his way through the crowd that had formed at the gate and came up to me and said, I found a great parking place.

Be the greatest victory in the story by a great shot he plays on the bread. That’s terrific. for just a minute. Can you talk a little bit about Harry Belafonte?

I don’t know if everyone I mean, we’ve got a minute left in this segment, this this part of the segment but I don’t know if people that really have a sense of kind of like the impact he had on you had to be I mean, you have to be around and as old as I am to remember all that Belafonte did.

Belafonte repeatedly in America walking with Martin Luther King, or in all over Africa as they went for independence. Belafonte stood up, he went there, he risked his life. I always said, I have accomplished a lot. I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I haven’t done anything like what Belafonte has done. Belafonte has put his life on the line repeatedly.

I mean, if you’re walking with Martin Luther King, in the south, you are at risk. And he would do that kind of thing over and over and he did it in Africa. And he said when we went to Africa with him it was like we had taken a god Africa you can’t believe the reception.

Maybe we can pick up with with Harry after the break. This is Max Sloves sitting in for Matthew Matern for Unite and Heal America. We’ll be back in a moment. Thank you. T

his is Max Sloves. I’m sitting in for Matt Matern today on Unite and Heal America. I’m speaking with Ken Kragen. Ken before the break, we were talking a little bit about the the importance of Harry Belafonte, you know, through pretty much most of the second half of the of the 20th century in terms of his impact on on various causes for justice, not just in the United States, but across the world. And how did you cross paths with Harry Belafonte?

That’s in itself pretty funny. I cross paths for the first time in Harry Belafonte in this sauna, or the Steam Room at Caesar’s Palace. In the buff in the nude. I mean, what what nothing to hide, no wonder woman in America wouldn’t have wanted to be there. He was he had a water hose, cold water hose and he was squirting all of us.

That was my first ever meeting with funny. The next time I ever had anything to do with him. He called me out of the blue on a two days before Christmas, and you know, at one o’clock in the afternoon, we talked for an hour. And And from then on, we were kind of joined at the hip for the next many, many years. And we had our ups and downs.

We’ve had some moments that have been good and we’ve had some moments where he wasn’t happy with something and but overall, Belafonte brought us incredible initial credibility. He was the spokesperson. You know, he’s as dignified as a calm, he’s still alive. It’s in his 90 now. He’s He’s not as healthy as he could be. But he’s, I think he’s still doing good stuff.

That’s great. Don’t know how many grand collaborations in life have started in the Caesars Palace steam room. But I think we’re all very fortunate that that one occurred that the two of you did cross paths.

And actually the reason he called me was he called a car he wants to do a concert. And he called rondelles winner who’s a big time or was at least in those days. I haven’t talked to him a long time. rondelles winner was the concert promoter of note in New York. And he called since he wanted to do a show.

He called Delta and Delta said, look, the guy who represents the artists you would want is Ken Kragen. And because he represented a guy named Harry Chapin, a tremendous activist in the area of issues of hunger and homelessness. If you’re interested, that’s the guy you call. So Dells there actually steered him to me. I mean, I doubt if Belafonte remembered the encounter in the Steam Room. I was one of a group.

It’s now recorded for posterity. I wanted to talk about hands across America. But before we get to that, I came across this quote, there’s a quote from Clinton, Ford, Bill Gates Jr. It says a personal manager It concentrates on everyone but himself.

And it sure you are having such tremendous success professionally. But then also tremendous success as as a philanthropist, and as an organizer of these events that have raised consciousness across the United States across the globe, it seems like it’s a common thread kind of a common ethos through through what you do.

Well, when I started teaching at UCLA, I taught quite a successful course at UCLA for 11 years. When I started to do that, I went back and research my life, to see what worked and what didn’t, by the way, failures or offer even better learning experience, variances. And I and I came up with the fact and I was kind of blown away by it. That over and over from high school on whatever anybody said, was impossible to do was what I did. You know, so even putting on, I brought groups from LA to Berkeley where I was now going once my dad moved back there.

I brought named people up from here to perform there, which hadn’t been done, and made it successful, but I worked my tail off doing it. But I pulled off all the way back to high school, my mother sent me a picture of me handing a check for $64 to the Red Cross and money that we’d raise from one of the dances I did or something.

But I kept finding that in the late 60s, the Smothers Brothers comedy hours managing the group, went on the air, and we knocked off a show that had been number one for eight years Bonanza, we knocked him out a number of we knocked him out on number one with a controversial show, Smothers Brothers that captured the number one slot and was the talk of the country.

Again, we were doing what hadn’t been done before. We were putting politics in a in a clever way satirically on television on network television 1968, 1960, 1989. The key imagine, I mean, if you weren’t alive and old enough to know at the time, you wouldn’t realize that that was just impossible. You know, and we got thrown off the air for it ultimately, and other shows went on to do it effectively, like laugh in and some of the others.

And a lot of today shows that do that credit the Smothers Brothers for being the source of opening that door. So I went back and looked and I just found this stream of things that I somehow did. And I suddenly realized that it was easier to accomplish the impossible than the ordinary.

The other thing that I found in that research, that’s a value to your listeners, is I found this thing called the Magic of Three, I found that it took at least three impressions in a concentrated period of time for anybody to actually take action. So and that you had to come at them from three totally different directions.

You couldn’t just pick three social media directions, you know, and figure that you were gonna go that I’m on Facebook and Twitter and, and Instagram or whatever. Those were one direction. The whole social media area was one direction. A personal note was another direction of billboards you bought across from their office was another direction. I done all those things. You know, the front I’ve kind of enhance across America was it was a well, it was completely impossible. I mean, this jacket, this jacket, this one, that’s what I is personally, because I remember standing on the strand in Hermosa Beach with my parents and I think I wore that T shirt to the crowd.

I think there were like in their most upbeat we’re were you near the Queen Mary. Because at the Queen Mary, we had about 10,000 People just at the Queen Mary. And that line, it had a couple of breaks in Arkansas and, and in Arizona, where they forced to stab or break the government did. But it basically was a continuous line through 17 states. It didn’t it went all the way from New York through about 13 or 14 of the states to Arkansas before it ever even had a break.

People stood in a continuous line, sometimes several rows deep to hold hands and stand up against the issues of hunger and homelessness in America. And by the way that came about in a fairly unique way. I had taken supplies to Africa and got and was on the plane and got to LAX and was being picked up by a volunteer.

And I remember the exact moment as we were getting on that walk that moving walkway, when he said to me, you know, Mr. Kragen, it’s nice what you’re doing for Africa, but we’ve got a lot of issues with people hungry and homeless here in America. What are you doing for that? And then the idea of Hands Across America had been suggested to me.

And I pulled it out and thought, that’s what we do. And I went right to at&t, who’s the theme was, reach out and touch. And yeah, and they took a couple of months to say, No, the government was forcing them to get rid of certain divisions of their company. And they fired 5000 employees and closed down divisions. And they just couldn’t put up the money that I needed. So it’s sort of sat in my pocket until September, and I get a call from the marketing director of Coca Cola guy named Sergio Zeeman.

And he says, Ken, why did we lose Lionel Richie or client and Michael Jackson, the Pepsi? What went wrong? Why did they both end up at Pepsi? Why don’t we at least get one of them? And I said, Sergio, because at Pepsi, your former partner, Roger and Rico is the president and then you go to him, and he makes a decision, yes or no right in his office at that moment in time.

And you walk out with something or you walk out with nothing, but you at least know where you stand. at Coca Cola, you create a committee. I was in a board meeting on one of my clients there where they had 40 people, somebody stands up and says, Let’s form a subcommittee. The next thing you know, you’re going through a couple of months, all of a sudden, you’re turned down for reasons you’ve never even been asked about. I’ve had that happen a couple of times at Coke.

And I said to him, You guys can’t make a decision. He says, Well, so what do you have right now? I said, Well, next May. He said, Oh my God, that’s our 100th anniversary celebration. I said next May. We’re gonna put people holding hands, hands across America from New York to LA. I mean, I just pulled it out. It wasn’t really happening. He said, When exactly. I said the end of May, Memorial Day. He said, How much? I said, Sergio, it’s three to $5 million.

That’s the fun part of it. He calls me back a day. He Oh, he says so he said, We’ll take it. I had him in a corner. You know, he says we’ll take it. So I said, three to $5,000,000.02 days. Three days later, he calls me back. He says, Where do I send the $3 million dollars? I said Sergio is five. He said You said three? I said no. I said three to five minutes five and the next day I had FedEx a $5 million check from Coca Cola and we were off and running.

I love that. We have to take our second break. That is there’s the perfect place to stop. This is Max Sloves sitting in for Matt Matern Unite and Heal America with Ken Kragen. We’ll be back in a moment. Thank you.

This is Max Sloves sitting in for Matt Matern on Unite and Heal America. I am speaking with Ken Kragen. And Ken we just we’re speaking, we were just talking about Hands Across America in some of the things that went into both the inspiration for that project. And in some of the details of how it all came together, this is, again, doing the impossible chasing the impossible. And making the impossible reality.

And that’s certainly the most impossible thing that I’ve done. But I think what’s really key here, Max, is what it accomplished. Because it parallels what I’m doing now, which we’ll talk about in a little while. When we did hands cross American got five and a half million people in the US and a million else in other States and around the world to stand up and hold hands and continuous line a and a line that stretched from New York to LA we sent a message to through the media to the government.

And the US had been particularly that administration, the President Reagan and the administration denying that there were any poverty issues, and particularly hunger and homeless issues in America. And this called attention to the fact that millions of Americans didn’t believe that and they all Almost immediately passed $1.3 billion in relief programs and Reagan signed them. And by the way, Reagan stood in the line in the last week the pressure on him, because he had come out denying there was any issues.

The pressure on him was so great that he left a line go through the White House, he and his family stood in that line. And it gave us tremendous bipartisan support. So and we also, you know, I, I was inspired, not only by my parents who are great activists, but I was inspired by Harry Chapin, who was this tremendous activist for hunger and homelessness. And he taught me that if you can get the public to take interest in action, and you get the media involved.

You, you move politicians that way. And this changed the game, because the media hadn’t been covering these issues. All of a sudden, these issues were the key, they were everywhere. In fact, they were everywhere, so much for the next year or two, that they pretty much subsided and having any impact. To this day, we have major homelessness and hunger and other issues. Because there’s been so much coverage of those issues, to the point where people don’t look at as anything extraordinary.

I think there’s something that really stands out to me about that. And that is you, you chase this very large, symbolic project of getting everyone to hold hands across America. But the impact was beyond symbolic. The impact was real. It wasn’t just clicks and bots and likes, it was actual human beings, millions of human beings holding hands and making a statement.

And that resulted in action from the government. And I think that’s something that we’re really we’re missing today, because we use social social media, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t always translate into substantive action, the way that that Hands Across America did. So it’s really a powerful example of something that can be done.

And we weren’t trying, we weren’t trying to form an organization to solve hunger and homelessness. We were trying to give there are 1000s, actually 10s of 1000s of food banks and other organizations working at Harry Chapin formed a group called Why hunger that’s hugely successful worldwide, and here in America, and it’s still going strong all these years later. And we weren’t trying to duplicate any of that. We were trying to do what I’m doing.

Trying now in the climate area. We were trying basically, to support those people, and give them a great feeling about what they were trying to accomplish. And that there were millions of people out there that believed as they did, that something had to be done about these issues. And, and it’s those are game changers.

And now you can go along trying to beat the bushes to feed 10 kids who are, you know, hungry, and in Tucson, Arizona, you know, and it might be 100 kids, or 1,000. But, but it’s small in the overall picture. But if you can move in ways that change the overall approach, you have really accomplished something. And so that’s, I’m extremely proud of that. I can’t say that I thought of that when I was doing I would just do it what seemed right do and was unique.

It seems kind of instinctive to you, though to to approach things from a very macro level kind of 10,000 foot view that that seems to be your talent. Some people are very talented at, you know, getting into the weeds, and others are better at moving the mountains. It seems like you’re a mountain mover.

Well, I you know, I’m approached constantly by charities asking for advice. And I A I’d first drill down to the core of what will really accomplish their end goals. What are the key things? And then I look at it and think, What can we do that will I mean? Where is the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Now that comes up constantly. Where is something we can do with your particular need, that will change the game for you? And it’s much harder to do on a micro level. The macro level for me is what I understand and what we try to pull off.

I’ve got a few more minutes left in this segment. And before we pivot to hands across the world, by the way, it’s hands on its hands around the world. I’m sorry, no. Yeah. And that’s important, as you’ll see. Yeah.

Before we get to that, I just, you know, you talk about messaging and entertaining, and you’ve worked with some of the iconic entertainers of the world. And the ones that stood out to me were Burt Reynolds and the BGS. Because the Beegees just have this this documentary.

Oh, yeah. It’s a wonderful documentary, I loved it. And then Burt Reynolds had this like late career renaissance that really kind of gave him exposure to a new generation. And I was just wondering if if there were any kind of moments or challenges or significance experiences that you had with either of those, those artists?

Well, actually, there are specific ones in connection with those Bert, Bert could be pretty volatile. And until he got rid of the substance issues that were creating some of the ups and downs of it that he went through. It was difficult to read the I only lasted about nine months with Bert.

It was a pretty wild nine months, I had never represented anybody that when you went out in public, created the kind of stir he did a Lionel Richie or Kenny Rogers or Kim Carnes, when she had number one records, or the many groups that I handled that were big deals. And people never created what Burt did, if you were out with Bert, it was pandemonium. It was unbelievable how big a star he was.

Because he was a long term motion picture star. And then of course, when I was handling him, he had the success of evening che the TV series, which was based on a real the little town in Arkansas. And, and there’s some stories about that, but I don’t think I would take the time. Now, the bigger overall issue when you’re managing talent, it is not going to be a smooth road all the time, I was very lucky that I didn’t put up with issues for very long.

I wanted them I didn’t want an artist to to change my life or or, or, you know, destroy some part of my life for a while. So I my attitude, I never signed contracts with a single artist. And I just saw a special on on one of the big managers of all time, David Geffen. And he said, I never had a contract with anybody, because I always believe we were better than anybody else. We were the best you could find. And if they left us, it was their loss. But that was exactly my philosophy.

So, you know, I kept artists I was 33 years with Kenny Rogers, who were sensational people to work with. And Lionel Richie and people like that. Although Lionel left me after about eight or nine years, and then came back and then left again. But mainly he left because he and Kenny weren’t getting along that had been some betrayal of an agreement they had. So I got cut in the middle. And Ilana wanted me to stay with him.

And I had a much longer relationship with Kenny. So, but really, really over the years, the idiosyncrasies, the issues, the, the, you know, the clients who had a problem with something, we had a client who performed in Vegas and had his own showroom, who used to call up every day and complain about something going on in the hotel that he wasn’t to his liking, or wasn’t promoting him properly.

And I had a partner at the time, who said to him, he had a big competitor who, this particular artist who I still work with, actually believe it or not, but he had a competitor. And Mike, my associate said to him, say, Listen, look up on the marquee as you’re driving away, look in your rearview mirror, and you’ll see so and so up on the marquee your competitor, they’ll have replaced you in about 10 minutes with your with a guy who you, you know, compete with most and he said, Well, maybe I won’t be leaving as quickly as I thought.

Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand and established boundaries it made sense to be on ethics, which seems like a three line in your career. We got to take another break. We’ll be back in a moment. This is Max Sloves sitting in for Matt Matern on Unite and Heal America.

This is Max Sloves, sitting in for Matt Matern on Unite and Heal America. I have in conversation this afternoon with Ken Kragen. Ken I, you know, in the last segment, we ended with a story that reflected how, you know, throughout your career professionally, you’ve made maintained certain ethical standards for yourself, and that that’s really served you well, professionally.

And it seems like it’s served you. It’s also kind of fed into the motivations that you’ve had to pursue some of these grand, large scale philanthropic projects. And so what I would love to do now is to hear about the latest what is happening now?

Yeah, well, I have three or four projects going on, by the way, which is nice. But a movie and a television series, and a, and a documentary and stuff. But the biggest thing is really the biggest thing that anybody in this planet needs to pay attention to. And that is the issues of climate change. And they are so many that if we took every minute of this segment to just mention them, we wouldn’t get close to filling. Climate change has impact on virtually everything that’s going on on this planet. And the impact is so great.

That the prediction I just read, just this morning, I read something that said, what’s happening to this planet, it hasn’t happened in 1000s of years, and possibly in hundreds of 1000s of years. This planet is in serious jeopardy. And you know, I’m 85, I won’t live to see mostly issues hit all those a lot of them are hitting now. But the but the opportunity to change that is there.

And my vision has been to, and a friend of mine came up with a concept because of the technology it developed to literally change the game by getting what we would hope to be a billion people worldwide, to both contribute financially, which would be a billion or more dollars, maybe several billion dollars that could be fed to those organizations doing the best work.

And even more importantly, contact data. So that people so that those organizations working in the Amazon, or the Arctic or the fires in California, or in and Australia or the flooding and freezing in in Texas, and on and on and on the endless list, food issues, food issues, the UN report is heavily focused on the issues of food.

And there’s a big, big reason for that, because the all of these different climate change issues are, are wiping out foods that are going to increase our food prices on some of the better higher level delicacies now from what I read in just the last few days. But overall, they’re ultimately going to threaten the world. And there are going to be countries and there are countries already, where Starvation is starting to really come into effect.

And when people can’t find food, they’re going to move in the direction of where they think it exists. And you’re and that’s going to create not only pressure, huge pressures, but possibly even armed conflict. Because country, the countries that have aren’t going to want to open their doors to a lot of people that are going to take away what they’re holding on to to feed the people they have. Because climate change is affecting the world overall.

So my whole effort is thanks to my friends technology to allow you to do what we did with hands across America, using the current technology so that you can download onto your phone, a holographic picture of two celebrities, or even a group perhaps if you’re a young person, maybe it’s BTS or remote. And you can stand in the middle of that group which asks you to come in, they can talk to you, you can move around them there.

It’s a 3d holographic image that you download on your phone and getting it onto your phone has been the key part of this part of this and you download it, you step in the picture you get someone else to hold the camera or you mount it somewhere so you can use Step in the picture, ideally, with someone who says, Put your hand here and put one hand here. And all of a sudden, you’re now holding hands with people that you know, you’ve got Beyonce on one side and the Pope on the other. You’ve got Jane Goodall who’s endorses heavily on one side and a chimpanzee.

On the other hand, you know, what she’s spent her life saving, you’ve got amazing stuff that’s happening. And you’re getting that on your phone permanently, you’ve got it, you can share it, you can send it to your friends, they will jump in and, and want to be part of it, it will spiral and, and, you know, even if we just got 100 million people, which is a fairly easy number to reach, with the kind of celebrities we’ve been talking to, even if we got 100 million people, and they each gave an average of $10, we’d have raised a billion now.

But we’re looking for everybody to give at least $1, and ideally, to get a billion people, because if a billion people take action in their local communities, and in their local nations, and against corporations that are polluting the world. And if they stand up for what is needed to save this earth, politicians are going to move, it’s going to be just like Hands Across America was back in 1985 and 1986. With We are the world that hands crossed America, you know, if the game is going to change is going to totally change.

And we’re going to be able to move the game to a different level where everybody’s involved. And we can now say, hey, look, we need to put this pressure on Brazil, because of what is doing to the Amazon. And suddenly, you know, 100 million people are focused on doing something about Brazil. You know, not just countries and, and organizations in the United Nations all cheer, we’re good.

But, but they’re good. But these people and corporations and countries are ignoring them, in many case. And we want to do what we didn’t in those years in the 80s. We want to make it impossible to ignore. And not only impossible you, Nora, but you’re working on a local basis to make the changes necessary. That’s pretty much I mean, ask me any questions that that raises. To explain it better.

That Well, I think I would just start by saying the absolute brotherly love that I wasn’t aware of the technology component to it, that there’s there’s going to be this holographic interactivity.

And we have that we have that we had it, we need a couple $100,000. Now to translate it in a way that we can send it out. So that sponsors because we need to raise five to $10 million overall to pull this off, probably 10. And because of all the technology, you know, there’s huge uploading and downloading and reloading, putting people in places because these are going to create, it takes 40, it takes 40 million people to surround the earth holding hand to hand in virtual reality.

We’ve got permission, or at least have had to go up to the space station and back. If they get anything going on the moon, we can go there and back. In that period of time, we’re probably not going to launch until next year, some guy maybe it’ll be Earth Day. We tried to get ready for the day this year, but we just didn’t have the funding. So we’re looking for funding now.

But we’re looking in the early stages for fairly modest funding. We had raised a couple 100,000. We got a phenomenal composer two time Academy Award winner AR Romane. From India to write a song and record it. It isn’t finished by any means.

But we’ve done a number of things. I always have music and every project I do if you look at them, and I mean there was a special song branch across America created a big controversy. But with the people like Michael Jackson, who wanted us to continue to use We are the world.

But again when it had been done, we need to Zoom it up a little bit. And this is sort of a combination of the two of you and the celebrity quotient with the pan global interactivity. If someone wants to wants to help you move this forward. What should they do?

Well, there is a website it’s called hands.world. We are working on a new website which will have soon Anybody can reach out to me it’s [email protected]. And I’ll put you in the right hands, so to speak. Didn’t think about that.

But yeah, Ken Kragen can create just K-E-N-K-R-A-G-E-N at aol.com. I’ve had that forever. I get 150 emails a day. So be patient, but much of it is junk. I think the first thing I do every morning is get rid of about 75, you know, meaningless email.

Hopefully, you’ll get a few more there that are more substantive.

Yeah. But we are we’ve, we’ve been close. And we’re very close now to funding. We’ve got the right people involved, we’ve made changes in our operation in the way we’ve moved in our organization. And we’re, and we’re sitting in a good position at the moment. But we’ve been working on this a couple of years. And we literally have to come up with a couple 100,000.

To do I think what opened the door so that we can really truly explode this into the kind of I mean, it will we’re not, we’re not forming an organization to do the will climate change work. We’re forming a movement to fund the great work that’s out there being done.

And the people that are doing it, and to add to that work, tend to get action to go. So we’re doing exactly what we did with hands across America. And this is fantastic. I really value the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon to revisit what you’ve done in the past, but more importantly to to learn about what you’re doing right now.

You know, a lifetime of continued work and effort beyond yourself, I think it’s just it’s such a model to the rest of us and and I want to thank you for joining me today on on Unite and Heal America.

Well, it’s my pleasure. And this is the biggest project of my life or the biggest project of its kind ever done in the world. So people want to participate. Please get in touch.

Ken Kragen thank you so much.

Thank you, Max.

(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)

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