Thursday 29 June 2017

Star-studded telethon raises $57m for victims

Nekesa Mumbi Moody in New York

Organisers of the all-star 'Hope for Haiti Now' telethon say the event raised $57m (€40m) -- and counting.

"The public has set a new standard of giving for a relief telethon with 'Hope for Haiti Now' and the donations continue to come in," said Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

The two-hour telethon aired on the major networks and online, with stars like Brad Pitt, Beyonce, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and more using their presence to encourage donations for Haiti following the devastating earthquake.

Some stars, like Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood, recounted tragic moments from the quake; others, like Denzel Washington, offered inspirational words.

Most of the musical performances were downcast, emotional songs.

John Legend sang 'Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child'. While Kid Rock, Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow sang 'Lean On Me'.

Beyonce, with Coldplay's Chris Martin backing her on piano, revised her hit 'Halo' with new lyrics: "Haiti we can see your halo, we pray you won't fade away".

Madonna provided one of the few upbeat moments with her choir-backed performance of 'Like A Prayer'.

Jay-Z, Rihanna and U2's Bono and The Edge debuted a new song, 'Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)', as Jay-Z rapped: "When the sky falls, and the earth quakes, we gon' put this back together, we won't break."

The total raised includes money taken by phone, text and the web.

Donations

It does not include donations by corporations or via iTunes, where people are able to buy performances of the event for $99c each (€69c), or the entire album for $7.99 (€5.60).

Those funds also go to Haiti relief.

The 'Hope for Haiti Now' CD is the biggest one-day pre-order in iTunes history and the new song 'Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)' is the No 1 single.

People can donate via text, phone or through the 'Hope for Haiti' website for the next six months.

The organisations that will receive funds from the telethon include Oxfam America, UNICEF, and the Clinton-Bush Haiti Foundation.

Irish Independent

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