Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Drake and More A-List Celebrities Raised Millions During Bun B’s Hand in Hand Hurricane Telethon
Houston native Bun B pulled off a major feat last night, alongside music manager Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber), raising a whopping $44 million for hurricane victims during last night's Hand in Hand Telethon, ABC News reports (though at one point during the broadcast Billy Crystal put the number at $14 million).
The telethon was broadcast on all of the major networks and featured virtually every A-List celebrity in Hollywood imaginable— from Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts to Jennifer Garner, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Billy Crystal, Diddy, Demi Lovato, Chris Stapleton, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Willis, George Clooney, Tyler Perry, Cher, Nicki Minaj, Faith Hill, Kerry Washington, Usher, DJ Khaled, Vic Mensa and more. The funds will go to aid victims of both Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Texas and Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida.
During the telethon, Steven Colbert announced that Apple was donating $5 million to the cause. NBA star Chris Paul also said that that he NBA Players Association, which donated $500,000, would match any professional basketball player's donation up to $20,000.
However, though the telethon was about raising money to assist victims of the recent hurricanes, many of the celebrities took the opportunity to talk to viewers about the country's ills, as it finds itself in social and political turmoil.
While Drake, who donated $200,000 to relief efforts in Houston, called the recent news cycle "extremely overwhelming," Beyoncé, who also recently returned to her native Houston to aid hurricane victims, was a bit more blunt.
"I's impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country," Beyoncé noted. "Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, natural disasters take take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, flooded hospitals, schools, and nursing homes and countless families are now homeless," she continued. “Natural disasters don’t discriminate. 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 [Houston neighborhoods] Third Ward or River Oaks, we’re all in this together.”
Beyoncé also touched on climate change, which was a running theme throughout the night, with Stevie Wonder delivering harsh words for climate change deniers.
"Anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent," he said.
It's been estimated that the storms caused between $150 billion and $290 billion in damage to Texas and Florida, and at least 70 people died during Hurricane Harvey, and 22 deaths have been reported in the U.S. from Hurricane Irma.