“Love will always win” was Friday night’s mantra at the NeueHouse Hollywood as it held the onePULSE Benefit in honor of the Orlando shooting victims, featuring celebrity appearances from Matt Bomer to Caitlyn Jenner and will.i.am.
Lance Bass hosted the tearjerker of a fundraiser, which also featured a series of videos directed by Ryan Murphy that told personal stories of the victims by celebrities, including Jane Fonda, Lee Daniels, Angela Bassett and Lady Gaga. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave opening remarks in the venue, noting the city’s rich history in LGBT rights.
“Before there was even Stonewall, there was Black Cat down the street on Sunset Boulevard,” he recalled, referring to the Black Cat Tavern where one of the first riots took place protesting police violence against the LGBT community. “That’s where things started.”
Star of HBO’s “Ballers” Arielle Kebbel, an Orlando native, also took the stage to share that she frequented local hospitals and befriended survivors during her home visits shortly after the tragedy. “I haven’t met one person who is angry or mad, they are incredibly grateful to be alive,” she described.
The actress then went on to introduce singer LP, who performed a rendition of “True Colors” that was followed by an evening of music from Jessie J, a live stream from Melissa Etheridge and a surprise performance from Stevie Wonder. The latter debuted a new song that he had written in response to the tragedy, entitled “Where is Our Love Story?”
The night also featured Pulse nightclub founder Barbara Poma, who also brought former staff members of her closed venue to the stage when she tearfully looked back on the night when she received a call that a mass shooter was in her establishment. Poma went on to reveal that Pulse will open up in Orlando again — away from it’s original location since it is now “sacred ground.”
“The OnePULSE Foundation was born today. We have work to do, and tonight we have begun that work together,” she stated.
The event encouraged donations to the families affected by texting ‘PULSE’ to 91999. The foundation will donate 90 percent of it’s proceeds to the families of victims of the June 12 tragedy through the National Compassion Fund, with the remainder contributing to the construction of a permanent memorial site at the original Pulse Nightclub location.
As the evening ended, the room quickly transformed into a nightclub and became filled with loud music. The night’s DJ spun mixes and guests were encouraged to “dance on.”