“Y’all should be real proud of yourselves, y’all know that?” said Rihanna to her crowd of fans, including humanitarians, world leaders, refugees, musicians, and celebrities, on Saturday night at Central Park as part of the fifth Global Citizen Festival. “Y’all are changing the world just by standing here right now. I’m not gon’ get too sentimental and s–t, but y’all killin’ it. Thank you so much.”
The superstar singer and newly appointed global ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education headlined the festival which included performances by festival curator and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, as well as Kendrick Lamar, Demi Lovato, Major Lazer, Metallica, Eddie Vedder, Usher, Ellie Goulding, Yandel, and Cat Stevens.
The 60,000 guests attending the event secured tickets by downloading the Global Citizens phone app and promoting awareness on 12 different initiatives consisting of the eradication of polio and poverty, the importance of gender and education, access to clean water, and more through social media.
Between acts hosts Tamron Hall, Andy Cohen, Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra, Salma Hayek Pinault and Chelsea Handler introduced refugees who shared their stories of survival, and policy makers who are enforcing new laws and policies to enact change.
“Lately my office has been flooded with phone calls and tweets from many of you. Thanks Rihanna!” joked Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau alongside Usher via video message. “I’ve heard your voices loud and clear on a whole range of issues – from supporting the eradication of polio to ensuring every girl everywhere has the chance to go to school. Thank you for keeping these issues on our global agenda. Keep calling, keep tweeting, keep lighting up our switchboards. Together, we will end it for good,” he added.
After months of campaign efforts that garnered over 44 commitments by policymakers which are predicted to affect 199 million lives, Global Citizens enjoyed a day of fresh fair-trade food, free water at refillable water stations, and live music from some of the biggest names in music.
The Global Citizen Festival makes its next launch in India on Nov. 19.