80s | J.LO | The Johnny Lopez

A major plot point in Jordan Peele‘s new horror blockbuster Us is the often ridiculed 1986 charity spectacle Hands Across America (HAA).

For those that have blocked it out (or weren’t born yet), HAA consisted of over 6 million people joining hands to form a human chain from coast-to-coast for 15 minutes on Sunday, May 25th, 1986, in an effort to raise money to stop hunger.

Due to the success of celebrity benefit singles like Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and USA For Africa’s “We Are the World,” HAA organizers tried to drum up publicity for the flash mob by creating a theme song in a similar vein.

But while Band Aid & USA For Africa featured A-list talent like Sting, Bono, George Michael, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen, the HAA anthem only managed to cull together studio session singers, the New Jersey Mass Choir and a few members of Toto (cue”Africa” & “Rosanna“), who were then credited as Voices of America.

Although the song only reached #65 on the Billboard charts, a freaking amazing music video was made with some of the biggest celebs of the day singing along to the the track’s ridiculously basic & sappy lyrics.

Included in the patriotic gem were Oprah, Barbra Streisand, Robin Williams with C3POMiami Vice stars Don Johnson & Philip Michael Thomas, a four-year-old Nicole Richie and, believe it or not, Andy Warhol.

Now whether or not you’ve already figured out all the easter eggs, metaphors and symbolism in Us, the HAA music video stands on its own as an underated goldmine of glorious ’80s cringe that you simply have to see/re-watch to believe AND to spot the 31 celebrity cameos.

WARNING: YOU CANNOT UNSEE THIS VIDEO

ICONIC.

Now please take another moment to honor the sacrifices of this random assortment of celebrities, who, despite their best intentions, paid a price for unknowingly serving SNL digital short realness in this glorious video masterpiece. #haaHaaHAA

1. Kenny Rogers


This video was such a turkey that five years later the country singer got the idea to launch Kenny Rogers Roasters. In 1998, the company filed for bankruptcy.

2. Don Johnson & Philip Michael Thomas


When the video was released in April 1986, Miami Vice was one of the highest-rated shows on the air. By the fall, the series plummeted to #26.

3. Michael Douglas & son Cameron Douglas


At the time, we were told no children were harmed in making this video.

4. Robin Williams & C3PO (& Candice Bergen)


The Robin, Candice and C3PO romcom was doomed from the start.

5. Diahann Carroll


Blink and you miss her! One year after Dominique Deveraux survived the Moldavian Massacre, she barely got out of this video alive.

6. Lily Tomlin


The closet makes you do terrible things.

7. Kathleen Turner


And she thought appearing in Billy Ocean’s When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going video alongside her Jewel of the Nile co-stars was a career low.

8. Yoko Ono & Sean Lennon


This is what you get for breaking up the Beatles!

9. Jane Fonda


Fonda, Raul Julia & Jeff Bridges all appear in this video, which means someone at 20th Century Fox thought it would be good press for their soon-to-be released film The Morning AfterAbort!

10. Raul Julia


Gomez Addams deserved better. Snap, snap!

11. Barbra Streisand


We still need Babs to apologize for this!

12. Lady Liberty


The Statue of Liberty debuted her new & improved look after being shrouded in scaffolding for two years during renovations. This was no way to treat a lady.

13. Michael, Cameron (again), Diandra Douglas


Michael & Diandra divorced in ’95. No doubt part of her $45 million settlement was for punitive damages suffered from the video.

14. Robin Williams & C3PO again


Despite having more sexually chemistry than Mork & Mindy, there’s was the love that dare not speak its name.

15. Nicole Richie


Nicole was just trying to live the simple life of a four-year-old normal here.  Later she would be notoriously undermined by Paris Hilton, heroin, a DUI, Ugg boots, & several reality shows.

16. Andy Warhol & maybe Brooke Adams (left)


Warhol was a genius & knew HAA would be an instant camp classic once the video’s 15 minutes of fame were over.  Sadly, he died ten months later.

17. Whoopi Goldberg & Mickey Mouse


The EGOT winner would later go on to be contractually bound by Disney to tolerate Elisabeth Hasslebeck for six seasons on The View.

18. Alfonso Ribeiro & Drew Barrymore


Parental guidance was strongly suggested.

19. Roberta Flack & Nona Hendryx


Killing me softly with THIS song!

20. Jon Cryer


The video came out two months after Pretty in Pink‘s release. It would be another 17 years until “Duckie” found success again on Two and a Half Men.

21. Glenn Close


At this point in her career, Glenn had only lost three Academy Awards. #Cursed

22. Father Guido Sarducci


On second thought, maybe it really was a SNL digital short!

23. Mikhail Baryshnikov


More unforgivable than what he did to Carrie Bradshaw!

24. Dyan Cannon


After this video, Cannon – who was once married to Cary Grant & has received three Academy Award noms – repented by becoming a born-again Christian. SAVED!

25. Jeff Bridges


Dude, no.

26. Susan Anton


‘Memba her? While the singer/actress’ height-challenegd relationship with Dudley Moore came to end prior to this video, Anton’s most recent credit is Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. You do the math.

27. Shari Belafonte-Harper


Harry Belafonte’s daughter dropped the Harper when she divorced her ex-husband, which coincedentally was about a year after the video.

28. Oprah Winfrey


Oprah’s meteoric rise is historic, but the fact that her talk show was nationally syndicated just five months after agreeing to be in this music video is suspect &, quite possibly, diabolical.

29. Lily Tomlin again


Tomlin is a lesbian icon & has been absolved of any wrongdoing. Don’t @ me.

30. Kevin Bacon


On a positive note, this video does level up everyone’s six degrees of Bacon game. #FTW

31. Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas again


Crockett & Tubbs signing off. #RIP

While the HAA video may be way more frightening than anything in Us, I definitely recommend seeing it if for no other reason than to witness an amazing dual performance by Lupita Nyong’o. She’s scary good!

Hands Across America
Hands Across the land I love
United we fall
United we stand
Hands Across America
Mother and Father
Daughter and Son
Learn to live as one
I can not stop thinking again and again
How the heart of a stranger
Beats the same as a friend
Learn to love each other
See these people over there?
They are my brother and sister
When they laugh I laugh
When they cry I cry
When they need I’ll be there by their side
We are the river of hope
That runs through the valley of fear
And there is a lady whose smile shines upon us
Saying all is welcome here.
Learn to love each other
See the man over there?
He’s my brother
When he laughs I laugh
When he cries I cry
When he needs me
I’ll be right there, right by his side
The kiss never felt so sincere
Full of countless dreams
This earth, it never smelt so sweet
Cradles a song in it’s great heartbeat
Learn to love each other
See the man over there?
He’s my brother
When he laughs I laugh
When he cries I cry
When he needs me
I’ll be right there by his side

ICYMI: WHO WILL PLAY LORI LOUGHLIN & FELICITY HUFFMAN ON THE BIG SCREEN, HBO & ON LIFETIME?

After finishing the second season of Stranger Things, I couldn’t help but find each of the main characters’ Upside Down bizarro twins.

With the exception of Will, they all have a doppleganger that referenced a star or character from the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s.

Anyway, enjoy the fruits of my lazy Sunday and trust there are no spoilers if you haven’t finished yet.

 

1. Will Byers – Anne Hathaway

Sure Will’s got that Joey Lawrence Gimme a Break Dorothy Hamill ‘do, but the only thing scarier than surviving the Demogorgon is that Anne won an Oscar for singing! I Dreamed a scary Dream!

2. Mike Wheeler – Isabella Rossellini

There are worse things for a 13-year-old boy to be compared to than the eternal beauty of Lisle Von Rohlman from Death Becomes Her.

 

3. Lucas Sinclair – Arnold Drummond (Gary Coleman) in Diff’rent Strokes

Whatcha talkin ’bout who ya gonna call, Lucas?

 

4. Dustin Henderson – J.T. Lambert (Brandon Call) from Step by Step

The scene was straight up Duckie in Pretty in Pink, but Dustin’s weave was the quintessential ‘short but long’ cut of my guido high school and this ’90s child star.

 

5. Eleven – Jamie Lee Curtis (Terror Train/Prom Night era)

Eleven is truly the scream queen for a new generation.

 

6. Steve Harrington – Sandra Bernhard

Ladies love them and their luxurious Fabergé sprayed hair.

 

7. Billy Hargrove – Rob Lowe as Billy Hicks in St. Elmo’s Fire

Speaking of hair, don’t forget they say the accessories make an outfit

 

8. Nancy Wheeler – Diane Franklin (The Last American Virgin, Better Off Dead, Bill & Ted’s)

It’s all about being an ’80s It girl. So be careful, Nancy! #WhereAreTheyNow

 

9. Jonathan Byers – Michael Jackson

The wispy hair, the delicate features, the pale complexion. Maybe I’m the only one that sees it, but Jonathan makes me want to SCREAM!

 

10. Max Mayfield – Carrie (Sissy Spacek)

A redheaded girl without many friends. Hold the pigs blood, because Max has got the power!

 

11. Lucas’ sister Erica Sinclair – Dee (Danielle Spencer) on What’s Happening!!

Can you say scene-stealing wisecracking younger sister? Then how about, “No Roger, No Rerun, No Rent!”

 

12. Joyce Byers – Winona Ryder in Lost Souls

No one does frazzled anxiety quite like Nona. She also hasn’t aged in 20 years. You can’t steal that from Saks!

And finally my favorite ’80s film reference in season 2 goes to Hopper‘s Silkwood shower.

 

Alien, ET, Firestarter, Pretty in Pink… (insert ’80s film here) be damned, nothing tops the hard brush scrubdown of the Meryl Streep film classic. Check out a more thorough list of ’80s references here.

And if you need something else to binge, check out my podcast SCREAMING INTO TRAFFIC!  for all the week’s loud & proud pop culture noize. It’s funny, I swear!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screaming-into-traffic/id1052412883?mt=2

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screaming-into-traffic/id1052412883?mt=2