JUSTIN Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Leonardo DiCaprio led a star studded telethon for hurricane victims yesterday.
Some of the biggest names from the TV, film and movies showed up to sing, tell stories and plead for support in the televised benefit that had raised $14.5 million by the time cameras were turned off.
Pop singer Justin got stuck in and manned the phone banks to accept donations during the hour long Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief telethon.
He was joined by the likes of new dad George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Daniel Craig to take calls.
Nicki Minaj put on a lively show as she arrived ready to help bring donations in, alongside Kate Hudson, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani and Jared Leto to name just a few.
Musical entertainment came from singing legend Stevie Wonder who belted out Lean On Me before being joined by Usher and Blake Shelton for Stand By Me.
Beyonce, Will Smith and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sent in taped pleas for support during the event, shown on more than a dozen television networks and online simultaneously.
Speaking in her segment, mum-of-three Beyonce said: “Natural disasters don’t discriminate.
“They don’t care if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor.”
While Cher and Oprah Winfrey told the story behind a frequently-seen picture of strangers forming a human chain to save someone from flooding in Houston.
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Originally conceived as a benefit for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the “Hand in Hand” telethon was expanded to help people in Florida and the Caribbean devastated in recent days by Irma.
Comedian Kevin Hart explained: “We’re here to raise money, lift some spirits.
“When tough times hit, this is who we are. We’re compassionate. We’re unstoppable.”
The quick-moving show took a form familiar to viewers since a sad template was set in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Celebrities requested donations, told heartwarming survival stories involving people caught in the storm and sang songs.
Several organizations will benefit, including the United Way and Save the Children.
Stages in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, Tennessee were filled simultaneously, although the night’s final performance a tribute to Texans by George Strait, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert and Lyle Lovett originated from San Antonio.
Despacito singer Luis Fonsi and Tori Kelly sang Hallelujah together.
Dave Matthews picked his guitar from a studio above Times Square, and Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, Demi Lovato and Cece Winans sang the Beatles’ With a Little Help From My Friends.
Donations didn’t just come in over the phone – some huge donations were made from some very deep pockets.
Computer maker Michael Dell and his wife Susan pledged to match the first $10 million in donations Tuesday.
They’ve given a total of $41 million to the Rebuild Texas Fund.
Basketball star Chris Paul gave $20,000 and said the NBA Players Association would match donations of up to the same amount given by any NBA player.
Announcing Apple’s promise to give $5 million, comic Stephen Colbert quipped it was coincidentally “also the price of the new iPhone.”
Billy Crystal, who gave the $14.5 million tally at the show’s end, said phone lines would be kept open, and viewers could also donate online.
The event was organised by Houston rap artist Bun B and Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun.
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