Yoko Ono: ‘I envisioned the whole world smiling together’

MSNBC Nightly News, 22 July 2012

The idea that a smile had the power to heal occurred to Yoko Ono in the days after her husband, Beatles singer John Lennon, was murdered. NBC’s Lester Holt and Ono smile together in this report about Ono’s new project about smiles.

We close with a story tonight that just might give you a reason to smile. The power of a smile is the basis of a new art project on exhibit here in London. It is the work of a woman you likely know well who after suddenly losing her husband found the answer to healing her pain was written across her face.

NBC: There is more than just the olympics and a break from the rain that has Londoners smiling these days. The whole world is smiling this light hearted project on display at the serpentine gallery , the hope of artist Yoko Ono when she mused on the idea.

YOKO ONO: I envisioned the whole world smiling together.

NBC: The idea that a smile had the power to heal really took hold for Ono in the days and months after the murder of her husband back when it seemed there could never be anything to smile about.

YOKO ONO: Every day in the morning when I see the mirror I try to smile. It is very hard. In the beginning it was so phony. But then I started to really smile.

NBC: She calls the project hash tag #smilesfilm. There was no public internet or twitter back when she started thinking about it. Technology has caught up ask and Ono is asking people to snap a picture and smile.

YOKO ONO: If we all start to smile in the world something will happen. I think that it will be better for the world maybe.

NBC: Featured in the gallery exhibit a slow motion film of Lennon breaking into a smile. Over the years Ono has dedicated herself to peace, a message she shared with her husband. The two famously staged a Bed-In for Peace in 1969. In 2011 she created the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Iceland. She said she likes to think John is smiling about smiles but it is not hard to.

NBC: You think John is smiling with us now?

YOKO ONO: He would love it. It is the kind of thing he liked.

NBC: Ready?

YOKO ONO: Okay. I like this.

NBC: Maybe it is true. When you smile the whole world really does smile with you.

See www.smilesfilm.com for more.