Singer Stevie Wonder kicked off Tuesday’s star studded Hand In Hand telethon to raise money for hurricane recovery by getting political. Wonder started the show by saying, “Anyone who believes that there’s no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent.”
The Hand In Hand telethon was run on every broadcast network to benefit victims of hurricanes Harvey, which devastated the Houston area, and Irma, which slammed Florida over the weekend. The event mirrors past telethons for natural disasters.
The 2005 telethon to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina became known for Kanye West’s infamous anti-President George W. Bush comments. “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” West said as a stunned Mike Meyers looked on.
In addition to musical performances, celebrities took phone calls during Tuesday’s telethon from people making pledges to help those in need.
Celebrities participating in the Hand In Hand fundraiser include Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Oprah Winfree, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid, Adam Sandler, Terry Crews, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani, Ray Romano, Bryan Cranston, Beyoncé, and many more. It was broadcast from New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville and was organized by Comic Relief.
Wonder wasn’t the only participant who got political during the telethon. Singer Beyoncé contributed a video that started, “During a time when it’s impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly be worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives.”
Continuing, Beyoncé said, “The effects of climate change are playing out around the world everyday.” She then implied that climate change was behind the hurricanes, a monsoon in India and the recent earthquake in Mexico.
Actress Lupita Nyong’o announced the effort raised $14 million by the end of the hour long program.
Donations to the fundraiser are tax-deductible and can be made by clicking here.