Q&A with Yoko Ono Lennon
You and John (Lennon) are both known as people who believe in peace. What do you
think John's take would have been on the attack in New York?
ONO: Well, John would have been just as angry as we are. But he was also a
wise person, and he would have known that we can't just act on our anger.
INT. QUEST.: And how are you handling it all?
I'm still in shock. But I know that we have to go on. It reminds me, of course,
of the time when John's life was also taken violently and suddenly. At the time
I knew that I just had to go on. We all had to go on.
How has this tribute concert changed since this happened?
It was originally a concert for non-violence, and to teach kids the importance
of that. But now, of course, it's very important that we help New York City and
the victims' families. And so that's what we're doing.
Has the concert taken on an added importance?
YOKO ONO: This concert
has definitely taken on an added importance. When we planned this concert none
of us ever dreamt that this would happen. I just feel that maybe it was meant to
be like this, and that we didn't know about it at the time.
QUEST.: Why is it important to remember John and his music?
ONO: It's important to remember John and his music because he told the
truth. His music was very powerful in that sense. I think that John's words and
music will give people power, inspiration and also an incentive for healing. The
music itself is very healing, as you know.
INT. QUEST.: Can you talk
about the lineup for the concert a bit?
YOKO ONO: I'm very happy
about the lineup because these performers are very important performers of this
age. I wanted it that way because they can communicate more easily to the young
generation. I wanted the heroes of this age.
INT. QUEST.: But we have
some heroes from John's generation too, I think. (LAUGHS)
YOKO ONO: I
know. Of course there are some of them. But they're very edgy people whose age
doesn't mean anything, you know.
INT. QUEST.: How were the songs
chosen for this concert?
YOKO ONO: I respect all these artists and
felt it was very important that they sing a song that they love. So I told them
to please select one of John's songs that they loved. And that's what they did.
INT. QUEST.: Is there a particular song that has always been your
YOKO ONO: Well, that's very difficult because I do love
each song of John's for many reasons, different reasons. And he simply wrote so
many good songs.
INT. QUEST.: John is such an icon. And his status as
such has never faded. Why is that?
YOKO ONO: He's remained an icon
because he was very frank. He was real. He told it as it was and he wasn't
afraid to do that. In fact, I think he almost gambled his life on it. Very few
people could be that outspoken. He really wanted to communicate a message. He
really believed in the future world and how it could be.
If John were still writing today, what kind of messages do you think would be in
YOKO ONO: It's hard to say what he might be writing about
today because he was interested in so many facets of music. I'm sure that he
would be writing something that was very new and important. Like a rap song, you
know (LAUGHS). He had it all in him.
INT. QUEST.: This concert will
be very emotional for many reasons. What do you hope audiences walk away with?
YOKO ONO: I hope they walk away with feelings of energy and power. It
should be a reminder that we should survive together and that we shouldn't
panic. We don't have to panic.
INTV:When the idea for this tribute
originally came up, before the tragic events of September 11, why was it
important for you to do?
YOKO ONO: It was very important that the
young generation start to feel that the world is okay. Then strangely enough we
got into this sudden situation that would make us feel less than okay. But I
thought that it was very important to relate that through imagining we could
create a beautiful world together. And I think we can still do that. If we go
against all the pessimistic, negative traditions we can change the world.
INT. QUEST.: He also had many other interests.
He was very much a Renaissance man, and I think most people do think of John as
somebody who was more than a musician.
INT. QUEST.: What message
would you like to send out to people now? If you could just boil it all down to
something? What is that message?
YOKO ONO: I think that one thing we
shouldn't do is to panic. When somebody says something out of fear and then
somebody takes that seriously and says even more out of fear, then we're just
kind of feeding fear to each other. I don't think we should do that. I think
that we should pray for a beautiful future. But, for instance, quite often when
we are praying, we're praying for peace when we are visualizing a war. That's
not going to do. The visualization and the prayer have to go together.
INTV:We're hearing so many bad stories about people who are looking at
people so differently now. It would be nice to think that we could all get
together and have concerts like this. These events now bring on so much extra
importance. Do you feel like that?
YOKO ONO: I think it's the unity
that's going to make us create a beautiful world and we're going to survive.
We're going to save ourselves, I think.