Star-studded concert raises money – and spirits – during lockdown
Stars from around the world have taken part in a global event from their homes to support front line workers tackling the coronavirus outbreak.
More than 100 artists performed songs in a virtual benefit concert organised by singer Lady Gaga, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the non-profit group Global Citizen.
The One World: Together At Home event, hosted by US talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, also included real-life stories from medical staff on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday’s concert, which was live-streamed online and broadcast on TV, is the biggest celebrity effort to entertain millions of people in lockdown because of COVID-19.
There are more than 2.3 million known cases of coronavirus worldwide, and more than 160,000 people have died.
The event brought legends in music. sports and other famous faces together – including Elton John, Stevie Wonder, David Beckham and former first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush – to help raise spirits in the worldwide battle against the pandemic.
Organiser Lady Gaga said: “I feel very honoured to be a part of the WHO and Global Citizen in the fight against COVID-19.
“I care so much about all of the medical workers who are putting their lives at risk for us right now. I think of them every day, I pray for them every day and I’m also thinking of all of you who are at home and are wondering when all of this will be different.”
She then sang a piano rendition of Nat King Cole’s Smile.
Commemorating the late Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder reminded us of what is needed during these hard times.
He said: “During hardships like this, we have to lean on each other for help. My friend the late Bill Withers has a perfect song about that, and I want us to remember him tonight.”
The Beckhams also showed their support for the healthcare workers all around the world.
“If there’s any silver lining to come of this situation its meant lots of time together as a family,” David Beckham said.
“We know there are people out there who are risking everything to keep us all safe, we want to join with all of you to say a huge thank you to them.”
Victoria Beckham added: “Our thanks goes to all of the healthcare workers all around the world who are working so, so hard, leaving their families to go to work to protect us and our children… thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
She went on to introduce their “dear, dear friend”, Sir Elton John, who sang his 80s hit I’m Still Standing.
Beyonce had a message for the black community, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
She said: “African-American communities have been severely affected in this crisis. Those with pre-existing conditions are at an even higher risk. This virus is killing black people at an alarming high rate, here in America.
“Please protect yourselves, we are one family and we need you. We need your voices, your abilities and your strength all over this world. I know it’s hard but please be patient and continue to pray for our heroes.”
The broadcast also included social media posts and news clips showing doctors and nurses being applauded by communities around the world, as well as families greeting each other through windows, and acts of kindness in support for the isolated and vulnerable.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres praised the world for uniting during these tough times.
“Tonight through the universal language of music we salute the bravery and sacrifice of health carers and others. And please join our call for a global ceasefire to focus on our common enemy the virus.”
There were also performances from The Rolling Stones, Annie Lennox, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Celine Dion.