The video was conceived by Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am and director Jesse Dylan and features a star-studded cast, including John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Common, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, Nick Cannon and many many more. The song's lyrics are adapted from Obama's post-New-Hampshire "Yes We Can" speech, which was based on Cesar Chavez's motto during a United Farm Workers hunger strike in 1972.
According to Dylan and will.i.am in an interview on ABC News, the video and song were put together out of their own volition and not in concert with the Obama campaign. According to ABC "the filmmakers said that they weren't even sure if Obama [was] aware of the video," though by Sunday lunchtime the Obama Website featured the video on its official blog, where dozens of his supporters were urging people to pass the video on and make sure that "the entire world sees this video."
At lunchtime yesterday, 85,000 people had seen the video on YouTube, by 5 p.m. more than 153,000 had seen it, and by the time the Super Bowl had finished, it was at 700,000 views. Between two uploaded copies of the video, more than a million people have seen it so far.
This has all the signs of becoming a massive viral hit and a piece of communication that shows the increasing power that musicians have to influence the public, particularly through social networks where musicians and celebrities are the most popular subjects of interest.