The star-studded “Hand in Hand” hurricane-relief benefit raised more than $44 million for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Tuesday night, according to ABC News. A total of $14 million was raised during the hour-long live show, with $30 million donated in the hours that followed.
The telethon, which aired live from New York, Los Angeles and Nashville on multiple networks, was produced by SB Projects (Justin Bieber/Ariana Grande management team Scooter Braun and Alison Kaye) and Den of Thieves (Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager), along with veteran Houston rapper Bernard “Bun B” Freeman.
During the telethon, Stephen Colbert announced that Apple was donating $5 million, Jimmy Fallon noted that Albertsons Cos. and Merck each gave $1 million, and Houston Rockets star Chris Paul said that the NBA Players Association not only donated $500,000, but would match any professional basketball player’s donation up to $20,000.
Other celebs taking part included George Clooney, Bieber, Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Drake, Julia Roberts, Leonardo Dicaprio, J Balvin, George Strait, Hilary Duff, Jamie Foxx, Faith Hill, DJ Khaled, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Barbra Streisand, Justin Timberlake and others.
The celebs were not subtle in their talk about global warming. Stevie Wonder, who led off the show with a cover of Bill Withers’ classic “Lean on Me,” said, “Anyone who believes there is no such thing as global warming must be blind… or unintelligent.”
Continuing with the show’s theme of empathy, Dave Matthews performed “Mercy,” Usher and Blake Shelton duetted on “Stand By Me,” and Brad Paisley, Demi Lovato, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans performed the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” from Nashville. “Despacito” star Luis Fonsi teamed up Tori Kelly for Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and George Strait kept it down-home performing “Texas” with Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton.