Pop star Jennifer Lopez emotionally spoke out for hurricane-battered Puerto Rico Saturday at the benefit concert “One Voice: Somos Live!,” trying to assure the citizens of that U.S. territory that despite Washington’s much-criticized disaster response, their island is not forgotten.
“Tonight, we are all here as one voice, to declare loudly and clearly in English and Spanish to every man, woman and child in Puerto Rico and beyond that you are not forgotten, you are not alone,” the Bronx-born Lopez, 48, whose parents hail from Puerto Rico, said onstage Saturday in Los Angeles. “We are all here to help, not just because you are Americans but also because you are family — familia,” she added in Spanish. “The damage brought by Hurricane Maria has been devastating. Electricity, clean water, food, medicine and cellphone service are still in short supply.”
Organized by herself, her singer ex-husband Marc Anthony, and her beau, former Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, the star-studded telethon, aired by NBC, addressed a disaster affecting them personally, she said.
“For many of us, like Marc Anthony in Miami or Alex Rodriguez, [singer] Ricky Martin and I here in Los Angeles, this disaster hits very close to home,” Lopez told the audience. “We will never forget those terrifying days when many of us could not find our friends and family, and hear their beautiful voices. For me it took six days before we found my Uncle Tomás and Adela [Ríos],” to whom she is related through her cousin and assistant Tiana Ríos, “who showed me great kindness growing up and who survived this historic storm when others did not.”
“Thank you for everyone who tuned in and donated...30 million and counting!!” the star posted on Instagram Sunday afternoon. “We are so grateful!! We are One Voice #somoslive #lovewins.”
Lopez announced last month that she was donating $1 million to Puerto Rico hurricane relief.
NBC said the telethon’s funds will help provide relief to hurricane-hit portions of the southern United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, through the organizations Feeding America, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity, Unidos Por Puerto Rico, United Way and UNICEF.