×

Global Citizen Festival Unites Rappers and Royalty

Effort to eradicate extreme poverty puts heads of state onstage with music stars

It takes a rare kind of strategic vision to put Jay-Z and the queen of Sweden on the same stage to raise money to fight poverty.

Producer Ken Ehrlich seems to be hardwired with that ability.

Ehrlich embarked on a new philanthropic endeavor in 2014, joining forces with the Global Poverty Project.

Founded in 2008 by Australian philanthropist Hugh Evans and Simon Moss, the GPP aims to end extreme poverty all over the world by 2030 by inspiring people to become “global citizens,” and encouraging them to campaign for fair trade and governmental aid for the impoverished.

The GPP’s popularity among celebs (Olivia Wilde and Hugh Jackman are supporters) is reflected in its annual Global Citizen Festival, a day-long music festival in Central Park that offers free admission to those who use social media to take action for the organization. Acts who have performed at the fest include Neil Young, the Foo Fighters and the Black Keys.

Ehrlich produced the first live broadcast of the fest for NBC and MSNBC.

“We did this past show for a very small fee because I really believe in what this guy’s doing,” Ehrlich said. “He’s really amazing, this Hugh Evans.”

Under Ehrlich’s command, the 2014 festival featured headliners Jay-Z and No Doubt (who were joined onstage by Beyonce and Sting, respectively) and appearances by Queen Silvia of Sweden, prime minister Narendra Modi of India, prime minister Erna Solberg of Norway and even President Barack Obama (via pre-recorded video).

Ehrlich will produce the 2015 Global Citizen Festival for broadcast as well.

More Music

  • Ryan Adams Sexual Harassment

    Ryan Adams Re-Emerges After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

    Singer/songwriter Ryan Adams, who was blasted with accusations of sexual misconduct earlier this year, including inappropriate texting with a minor, re-emerged on social media with a long post early Saturday. “I have a lot to say. I am going to. Soon,” he wrote. “Because the truth matters. I know who I am. What I am. [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Black Ball

    President Trump Speaks in Support of A$AP Rocky (Watch)

    UPDATED: In one of the more surreal moments from a presidency filled with few not-surreal moments, President Trump spoke out today in support of rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been jailed in Sweden for more than two weeks after an altercation with fans he said were harassing him. “A$AP Rocky is a situation in Sweden, [...]

  • David Crosby and Cameron Crowe'David Crosby:

    Cameron Crowe Picks Five Favorite Underrated David Crosby Tracks

    “Music is love,” as David Crosby once sang, and nothing breeds deeper love than a sense that something is overlooked. So that’s why Variety asked Cameron Crowe to dig deep into the Crosby canon and pick not just a triad but five favorites from among the CSN singer’s most underrated tracks. Crowe, of course, has [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content