Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé, Dwayne Johnson, Lupita Nyong’o, and Kerry Washington are just a few of the celebs that banded together on Tuesday night to lend their star power to a hurricane relief benefit organized by Houston rapper Bun B. of UGK fame, and talent manager Scooter Braun. 'Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief,' aired across 15 networks raising over $44 million dollars to be donated to organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, the Rebuild Texas Fund, and the ASPCA.
The legendary Stevie Wonder kicked off the hour-long program with a stirring rendition of Bill Withers classic “Lean On Me.” He also took the opportunity to address climate change deniers saying, “Anyone who believes there’s no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent. Lord, please save us all.”
In a pre-recorded segment, Beyoncé brought a message of unity saying, “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 Third Ward or River Oaks, we’re all in this together. Seeing everyone of different racial, social and religious backgrounds put their own lives at risk to help each other survive, restored my faith in humanity.”
As pledges poured in from citizens and corporations, celebrity phone workers reported the contributions live on air. Stephen Colbert live reported that Apple donated $5 million and Jimmy Fallon broke the news that Albertsons and Merck donated $1 million. Chris Paul, point guard for the Houston Rockets, said that the NBA Players Association donated $500,000 and pledged to match any professional basketball player’s donation up to $20,000.
Take my money hand in hand. Just take it.— 2016 NBA Champions (@IreezyPeezy) September 13, 2017
Texas and Louisiana were racked by the effects of Hurricane Harvey with losses estimated to be as much as $75 billion. While the full impact of Hurricane Irma is still being accessed, the recorded death toll has reached at least 24 in the U.S. alone with, including Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands with the Federal Emergency Management Agency reporting an estimated 25 percent of homes in the Florida Keys destroyed and another 65 percent with major damage. Recovery efforts from Hurricane's Harvey and Irma will be necessary for years and years to come. Kudos to celebs and citizens for uniting to pull this off.