Celebrities from stage, screen and sports — from Barbra Streisand to Justin Bieber, Julia Roberts to Jamie Foxx — banded together in a telethon Tuesday night that aired on every major network to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
“Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief” raised nearly $15 million in an hour featuring numerous pleas including one from Beyoncé, a native of Houston, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. “Natural disasters don’t discriminate,” she said. “They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor . . . We’re all in this together.”
The show — originating from New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and San Antonio — focused on a message of unity, as stars including Oprah Winfrey and Cher, and Kerry Washington and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs told stories of those who have suffered in the storms.
“When tough times hit, this is who we are,” said Jamie Foxx. “We’re compassionate. We’re unstoppable when we unite, when we join together hand in hand.”
The musical numbers carried the message as well. George Strait led an all-star version of his country classic “If It Wasn’t for Texas” with Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen in San Antonio, with a bit of “I Believe” added on. Brad Paisley, Demi Lovato, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans united for a moving version of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” Tori Kelly and Luis Fonsi teamed up for a soaring version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Before leading a gospel choir on “Lean on Me,” however, Stevie Wonder couldn’t resist making a slight dig at climate change deniers.
“We should begin to love and value our planet,” he said. “And anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent.”