AceShowbiz - Celebrities joined forces during "Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief" that aired on Tuesday, September 12. Over $14 million was raised during the one-hour commercial-free special which streamed live across the States on major networks including ABC, Bravo, CBS, E!, Fox and NBC, and was shown on Apple, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Throughout the special, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce Knowles, Matthew McConaughey, George Clooney and Julia Roberts delivered speeches urging viewers to donate. Meanwhile, musicians like Stevie Wonder, Usher, Blake Shelton and Demi Lovato did what they do best, singing.
Stevie Wonder kicked it off with a cover of Bill Withers' hit song "Lean on Me" accompanied by a choir. He said before his performance, "We've come together today to love on the people that have been devastated by the hurricanes. When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences and no political persuasions. It just loves."
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx then appeared to give opening remarks. Beyonce delivered a powerful message in a pre-recorded video. "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. It doesn't matter if you're from Third Ward or River Oaks, we're all in this together. Seeing everyone of different racial, social and religious backgrounds put their own lives at risk to help each other survive, restored my faith in humanity."
Justin Bieber introduced a prayer for the victims of the natural disaster. Matthew McConaughey spoke live from San Antonio, Texas, where Miranda Lambert and George Strait performed "If It Wasn't for Texas". "Do not give up hope, we cannot get tired of doing good work. Let's do it so these people can keep living," the actor said.
Oprah Winfrey, Cher, Kelly Rowland, Hilary Duff, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Matt Lauer, Michael Strahan and Norah O'Donnell shared stories of victims who suffered loss and devastation from Hurricane Hervey and Irma.
Usher and Blake Shelton teamed up to perform a poignant cover of Ben E. King's classic "Stand by Me". Demi Lovato, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans also took the stage to sing The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends".
Throughout the show, actors and singers spoke to callers to take donations that will benefit a number of charities aiding recovery efforts in Houston after the storm ravaged the city and its surrounding areas. They include the Rebuild Texas Fund, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas, Habitat for Humanity, The Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief (administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation), Save the Children and United Way of Greater Houston.
Also appearing in the special were Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Drake, Taraji P. Henson, Selena Gomez, Will Smith, Ryan Seacrest, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Gwen Stefani, Dennis Quaid, Stephen Colbert, P. Diddy and Kerry Washington. Billy Crystal closed the show, saying, "This is what America is all about ... a gathering of people from all across the country."
"Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief" was organized by Scooter Braun who represents the likes of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Carly Rae Jepsen. People still can donate by calling 1-800-258-6000 or texting GIVE to 80777 or visiting handinhand2017.com.