The hip-hop world turned out for the hurricane relief telethon
A huge amount of hip-hop stars were on hand for last night’s telethon to raise money for the people effected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Nicki Minaj, Questlove, Beyonce, Drake, Will Smith and Diddy all joined in to help support the cause with in-studio pleas or pre-recorded messages during Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief.
The telethon was organized by Bun B and Scooter Braun to benefit victims of Harvey in Bun’s home state of Texas. However, the scope of the fundraising drive was widened when Irma ravaged Florida earlier this week.
“We come together today to love on people that have been devastated by the hurricanes,” said Stevie Wonder, who started the telethon with a performance of “Lean on Me.” “When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences, and no political persuasions. It just loves.”
He also pointed out that we’re past the point where arguing about the reality of climate change is acceptable. The warming waters in the Atlantic Ocean will mean that hurricanes are more frequent and more powerful. “Anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent,” he said.
Beyonce — a Houston native — sent a message of unity to the event:
“It’s impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country,” she said. “Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, natural disasters take take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, flooded hospitals, schools, and nursing homes and countless families are now homeless. Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re from [Houston neighborhoods] Third Ward or River Oaks, we’re all in this together.”
Not Just Music Stars
While performances like Stevie Wonder were going to make the headlines, it wasn’t merely music stars who took the time to chip in. Stephen Colbert, Billy Crystal and Matthew McConauhey were there to help drum up support for their fellow Americans. McConauhey, also a Texas native, laid out the purpose of the donations.
“This is what we can give people with our donations tonight,” he said. “We can’t bring back what they lost, but we can help them know where to take the next step and provide some solid footing for them to place their next foot. A path to stability. To a place where they can rebuild “This is what they need and this is what we can give them.”
The gathering of so much star power was a clear success. The telethon raised $44 million. A staggering amount of money but a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the estimates of up to $290 billion in damage caused by the two storms.
Hand in Hand follows successful fundraising drives from Houston Texans football player J.J. Watt and actor Kevin Hart. Watt raised over $30 million with his Harvey fundraising campaign, and Hart raised several million by encouraging his famous friends to give.
Watch the Benefit
Watch the benefit up top. What do you think? Are you happy to see all these celebrities using their reach to make money for hurricane victims? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE this article.