US celebs raise RM63m for storm victims
NEW YORK: Top names in entertainment on Tuesday raised millions of dollars for survivors of mega-storms Harvey and Irma, with Stevie Wonder and Beyonce also urging attention on climate change.
Dubbed “Hand in Hand”, the one-hour telethon was broadcast live on all United States television networks, with megastars from George Clooney to Justin Bieber and Julianne Moore answering phones to take pledges.
After an hour of performances in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and San Antonio, comic Billy Crystal said the telethon raised US$14.55 million (RM62.6 million), with more expected as calls came in.
Apple donated US$5 million — with co-host Stephen Colbert joking that the figure was the price of the company’s new iPhone unveiled earlier — and chemical giant Merck announced US$1 million, although it was not clear if the amounts were part of the total.
Stevie Wonder opened the evening with a rendition of Bill Withers’ Lean on Me, backed by a gospel choir that urged “love” rather than divisions.
“We should begin to love and value our planet, and anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent. Lord, please save us all,” said Wonder, who himself is blind.
Beyonce, in a visible video message since giving birth to twins in June, said the disasters caused more sorrow “during a time when it’s impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country”.
“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,” the Houston-born pop superstar said. AFP