US celebs raise RM63m for storm vic­tims

New Straits Times - - World -

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

Ste­vie Won­der

Billy Crys­tal

Ge­orge Clooney

Bey­once

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