The Duke and Duchess of Sussex immediately jumped on board when they were approached by Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans. “We said we need champion of this campaign. Quite frankly they were immediately on the same page. It wasn’t a convincing. It was a conversation,” Evans told Variety at the concert taping on Sunday night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. “They were so excited. They said, ‘We believe in the importance of vaccine equity.’ For them, it was an easy decision to do the right thing because they were so passionate already.
“When I spoke to Megan, she said we really should call on the private sector to rally and for American businesses to step up, so they convened a roundtable and they started getting to work, and they invited the private sector leaders to be part of the effort,” Evans continued. “They’ve approached it with such sincerity and such leadership. I’ve been extremely impressed with their amazing commitment to the cause.”
Harry appeared at the concert while Markle, who is pregnant with their second child, remained at home.
On the purple arrivals carpet, Variety also spoke to some of the event’s celebrity guests about their own experience getting the vaccine and what they have to say to people who still may be hesitant to get vaccinated.
“I have it and my family has it and honestly it’s been really great experience for all of us,” said Selena Gomez, who hosted the concert. The “Hotel Transylvania” star said she’s had to talk to some friends and family about getting vaccinated. “It’s actually a great conversation starter,” she said. “I don’t ever pressure people because that’s just not my thing, but to be honest, it was wonderful to be able to have that conversation with my family. We’re all able to discuss it openly and freely and I think it helped. I think it helped my family understand. That’s all I could ask for.”
In the days leading up to the concert, Gomez tweeted world leaders, including France’s Pres. Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging them to do more for countries in need of doses and medical supplies. “I think at this point I’ve established my opinions pretty well,” she said, when asked if she was nervous about taking on heads of state. “I think it’s my way in using my platform the way that I should be. I truly believe in the vaccine.”
And she can’t wait for more live entertainment to return to stadiums like SoFi. “I got a little emotional walking into the stadium,” Gomez said, adding, “It was a surreal moment. This is where our world could go. This is what we want the world to look like.”
— Marc Malkin (@marcmalkin) May 3, 2021
Chrissy Teigen, who attended the concert with her daughter Luna, got her vaccine at a drive-thru clinic at the Beverly Center. She said if anybody she knows isn’t getting the vaccine, they’re probably too scared to share that with her. “I don’t think anyone would say that to my face, but we must do it for the greater good,” she said. “There is such a sense of individualism when it comes to the vaccine, like, ‘I don’t know. What if it does this or does that?’ No! You’re doing it for the greater good. You must get vaccinated so we can get back to normal life and to help people who are more compromised than you are. We really need to take care of others. Getting your first shot and following up on your second fucking shot would be really great.”
J Balvin got vaccinated two months ago. “It was a blessing. I had a couple of symptoms but it was worth it,” the singer said. “I had COVID and it was really bad and I never want to get it again.”
Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World will air and livestream on May 8 on ABC, ABC News Live, CBS, YouTube, Fox, AXS TV and iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations and the iHeartRadio App. An extended 90-version version will stream on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel.