On Saturday, April 18, many of the music industry’s biggest names joined forces to raise money for frontline healthcare workers battling the coronavirus epidemic.
Unlike the 1986 Live Aid concert that supported famine relief in Ethiopia, the One World: Together at Home event connected musicians and fans virtually. For eight hours, stars like Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones, John Legend, and Billie Eilish performed from their homes while Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel co-hosted.
The One World event was organized by Global Citizen, the World Health Organization, and Lady Gaga.
Over the course of eight hours, stars shared intimate performances from their own homes as they self-isolated during the coronavirus crisis. In between songs from Elton John, Camila Cabello, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Pharrell WIlliams, Keith Urban, Celine Dion, Chris Martin, Awkwafina, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Billie Eilish, and others, other popular figures shared their support. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Ellen Degeneres were a few of the presenters to support One World.
How Much Money Was Raised?
Overall, the One World livestreamed benefit concert raised $127 million for coronavirus relief efforts. The money, which came mainly from corporate sponsors, was split between a few recipients.
The WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund received $55.1 million of the money raised. According to the WHO, “Donations received will go towards funding the activities of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan,” which include tracking and understanding the spread of the virus, ensuring patient care, buying and shipping essential supplies, and accelerating efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments.
The other $72.8 million was sent to a variety of charities, food banks, and housing providers to support the people hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
Even people who were previously critical of the One World event praised it. Piers Morgan wrote after the concert, “This was a great initiative that raised a fortune, entertained people, and will help save lives. It was also a perfect illustration of major stars using their profile property in this crisis.”
Are More Charity Concerts on the Horizon?
Many other benefit concerts are emulating the One World event by raising funds through online performances.
The Jersey 4 Jersey benefit concert, for example, was a star-studded event that aired on April 22 to honor frontline workers. New Jersey natives Kelly Ripa and Jon Bon Jovi joined forces with musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Charlie Puth, and Halsey.
BET also held a coronavirus relief concert in partnership with the United Way on April 22. Titled Saving Ourselves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort, this concert included virtual performances and appearances from big names like Alicia Keys, John Legend, Chance the Rapper, Usher, and Tyrese.
According to Scott Mills, president of BET, “BET is using all of our resources- our capital, our media platforms, our relationships with the creative community, sports, businesses, and charitable organizations to support our community in this time of crisis.”