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'Hope for Haiti Now' TV benefit filled with emotion

There were harrowing tales and heroic ones, emotional musical moments and wrenching ones.

But the most telling moment of "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" - the celebrity-filled, two-hour benefit that aired on all of the television networks and dozens of cable channels Friday night to raise funds for the victims of the Haiti earthquakes, came at the end.

"Enough with the moping, man," said Wyclef Jean, the Grammy-winning leader of the Fugees and a native of Haiti, before breaking into a Creole-inspired breakdown and a chant of "Earthquake, earth shake, but the soul of the Haitian people will never break." That was what people wanted to hear.

Event organizer George Clooney opened the evening with a simple question: "Why?" as in "Why help?" It's a question that was answered through the night by Hollywood's A-list.

But Jean's response was the most eloquent - because we Haitians are just like you. "I carried bodies - they should have been walking, they should have been laughing, they should have been singing - but instead they were heavy in my arms," Jean said. "At the cemetery, there weren't enough holes in the ground to bury mothers, fathers, husbands and wives with dignity and grace."

The music served as reminders of links between Haiti and the world. John Legend and Mary J. Blige went back to Civil War-era anthems, Legend bringing his elegant soul to "Homeless Child" and Blige offering an emotional take on "Hard Times Come Again No More."

Often, the messages were clear. "I'll Stand By You" declared Shakira. "We Shall Overcome," offered Bruce Springsteen.

"Haiti, we can see your halo," Beyoncé sang in a reworked version of her hit "Halo," accompanied by Coldplay's Chris Martin on piano. "I pray you won't fade away."

All of the benefit's songs, including the debut of a collaboration between U2's Bono and The Edge and Jay-Z and Rihanna, "Stranded," will be available on iTunes Saturday.

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