Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Beyonce presented a world special of music, comedy and personal stories in what Gaga called a “love letter” to frontline workers fighting the pandemic of coronavirus.
The One World: Together at Home, broadcast on multiple TV and streaming channels around the world, featured a who’s who of pop culture. Filmed from their homes, the contributors were Elton John, Stevie Wonder, David Beckham and former first American ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush.
“I am very grateful to health care workers, medical workers, all grocery and delivery workers, postal workers, all the other nonprofits who work so hard,” said Gaga.
“This is truly a true love letter to all of you around the world, and I hope a reminder of the kindness that is happening right now. “
Hosted by three of the largest late-night television hosts in the United States – Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon – special tribute to teachers and health care, groceries, delivery, posts and other workers.
“We are not asking for money tonight,” said Colbert.
The event, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the non-profit group Global Citizen, was the biggest celebrity effort to date to mark the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 160,000 people around the world.
It also aims to encourage philanthropists and businesses to contribute to the WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Businesses and other donors have already contributed some $ 150 million, according to the organizers.
“What I would like tonight, if I can, is to give you permission for the moment to … smile,” said Gaga embarking on a version of the ballad made famous by Nat King Cole.
Beyonce did not play but sent a video message in which she noted the disproportionately high death rates in the African American community of Covid-19.
“This virus is killing blacks at an alarming rate in America,” she said, urging viewers to protect themselves.
The Rolling Stones, appearing in four different locations, sang You Can’t Always Get What You Want, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards playing the acoustic guitar.
Wonder, in a tribute to Bill Withers, who died two weeks ago, played Lean on Me, while McCartney, recalling that his mother was a nurse and midwife, sang Lady Madonna.
“You know coronavirus is a problem when a Beatle is involved,” Kimmel joked.
Earlier on Saturday, pop, classical and rap musicians from around the world participated in a six-hour livestream before the main event.
The live broadcast included Latin star Luis Fonsi, R&B singer Jennifer Hudson, American footballer Megan Rapinoe, Hong Kong singer Eason Chan, India Vishal Mishra and Emirati musician Hussain Al Jassmi.
The show included social media posts and news clips showing doctors and nurses applauded by communities around the world, families greeting each other through windows and acts of kindness for those who are isolated and fragile.
Celebrities have called on people to stay at home, wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing, and pressure their political leaders to introduce widespread screening for the disease.