A bevy of stars from across the globe rallied together on Monday night to take part in the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon, which raised more than $44 million for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
90% of homes in Florida Keys alone have been damaged by Hurricane Irma, while the death toll of Harvey and Irma stands at approximately 85 so far in Florida and Texas, according to the New York Times.
Stars like Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, George Clooney, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio were among those who urged the public and corporate companies to donate to the relief fund.
Backed by a powerful gospel choir, Stevie opened the night with a fitting rendition of ‘We all need somebody to lean on,’ before taking a pop at Donald Trump, saying: “Anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming must be blind.”
Celebrities were interviewed throughout the hour-long telethon, and many commented on the “overwhelming” negative natural and man-made events taking place in the US and Beyoncé said it is impossible to “ignore” the rising violence in the country.
She said: “It’s impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country.
“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.”
American companies like Apple and Albertsons Cos. and Merck gifted eye-watering sums of $5m and $1m respectively, while NBA star Chris Paul also said that the NBA Players Association, which donated $500,000, would match any professional basketball player’s donation up to $20,000.
Matthew McConaughey, Sofia Vergara, Oprah, Cher, Kelly Rowland, Hilary Duff, Matt Lauer, Michael Strahan, Blake Shelton, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Timberlake, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Julia Roberts, Gwen Stefani, Dennis Quaid, Stephen Colbert and Diddy also took part in Hand in Hand, which streamed live across all networks in the US.
McConaughey told viewers: “This is what we can give people with our donations tonight. 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.”