Coronavirus Relief Concert
Lady Gaga’s coronavirus relief concert, “One World: Together at Home,” raised $127 million to provide the world’s poorest countries with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential supplies to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Performance for A Greater Good

In partnership with the World Health Organization and the United Nations, the organization Global Citizen released performances from artists including Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and many more. The concert aimed to raise awareness of countries that could not afford the proper equipment needed for essential workers.

Global Citizen says that Lady Gaga’s coronavirus relief concert aimed to “celebrate and support healthcare workers and others on the frontlines, and the World Health Organization (WHO) as they lead the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.” Around the world, poor countries disproportionately feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — more so than countries like the U.S.

What Did “One World: Together at Home” Accomplish?

Lady Gaga’s coronavirus relief concert raised support and awareness for the COVID-19 crisis all around the world due to the high-profile guests and musicians featured in the program.

As a result of the large-scale, global support, Global Citizen raised $127 million for PPE and other supplies to provide to people around the world. Specifically, they were able to supply “[more than] 700,000 surgical masks, 51,000 N95 masks, 727,000 gloves, 85,000 gowns, nearly 14,000 goggles, and [more than] 20,000 face shields.” Funds went to 120 countries, including 39 countries in Africa, 20 in the eastern Mediterranean region and 29 in the Americas.

Global Citizen is an organization that aims to end extreme poverty by 2030. The organization’s methods include posting, tweeting, messaging, signing, calling and voting on issues that are pertinent to extreme poverty around the world.

COVID-19 & Global Poverty

But what does COVID-19 have to do with global poverty? Overall, productivity growth, a large contributing factor for lifting people out of poverty, is at a low due to the virus. From past illnesses and financial depressions, some speculate that this low rate of productivity growth will decrease further, the longer the pandemic lasts.

Without financial stability and the necessary protective equipment for essential workers, it is clear that those in poverty will suffer greatly as a result of the pandemic. Without access to important protections, those in poverty will continue to go on with life as they had before. Unfortunately, these activities come with an increased risk of illness as well.

Areas in which there is extreme poverty are often overcrowded. This, in turn, leads to more exposure to the coronavirus when no protections like masks or face shields are present. Additionally, the hospital space quickly becomes overwhelmed with rising numbers of cases. If patients do not receive proper care and if necessary protections are not used, cases will likely continue to rise.

Hospitals in impoverished areas are frequently unlikely to have the capacity to afford PPE and  other vital supplies. Patients will not be able to afford care, nor will the hospitals be able to supply the proper care needed in these situations. All of these factors combined, lead to more deaths as a result of COVID-19. For these reasons, any activities like Lady Gaga’s (and other artists’) performance that promote the global use of PPE and provide critical funding toward purchasing these supplies are beneficial.

– Natalie Belford
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Celebrities Donating to Fight COVID-19
COVID-19 continues to threaten the world. Although celebrities cannot be on the frontlines, they are doing their part in the battle against the virus. From creating their own nonprofit organizations to donating to global charities, these public figures continue to support the improvement of global poverty and health. Here are five celebrities donating to fight COVID-19.

5 Celebrities Donating to Fight COVID-19

  1. Justin Bieber: Back in February 2020, before COVID-19 began largely affecting the U.S., Canadian-born singer Justin Bieber made a donation to the Bejing Chunmiao Children Aid Foundation. The organization, a public charity, focuses on bringing health, home and joy to underprivileged children in China. In Bieber’s donation announcement post on Instagram, he said, “China, we stand with you as a collective humanity.” Bieber recognized the importance of donating globally as countries fell one by one to COVID-19. A month later, he canceled his 2020 U.S. national tour to protect the well-being of his fans.
  2. Lady Gaga: When COVID-19 struck, singer sensation Lady Gaga took it upon herself to do more than just donate. She wanted to give voice to underprivileged communities, essential workers and volunteers risking their lives to help others. In collaboration with international advocacy organization Global Citizen, Gaga created the “One World: Together at Home” broadcast. This 8-hour fundraising phenomenon included performances and videos from superstars like John Legend and Beyonce. The event raised $127 million. All of the money is for the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and UNICEF.
  3. Priyanka Chopra Jonas: At the end of March 2020, Priyanka Chopra and husband Nick Jonas announced that they donated undisclosed amounts to 10 organizations, including UNICEF and Doctors without Borders, to do their part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Chopra, an Indian actress, also has her own organization, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. The Foundation works to support underprivileged children across India. A global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Chopra is part of many efforts to protect child rights and promote education for girls.
  4. Rihanna: Popstar Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty created The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF)  in 2012. The nonprofit aims to protect and improve education and emergency response programs around the world. The organization donated $5 million to global COVID-19 response organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Rescue Committee. Additionally, CLF also joined forces with Twitter/Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation to donate $6.2 million to 11 organizations responding to COVID-19’s global impact.
  5. Jack Dorsey: Along with partnering with Rihanna and Jay-Z, billionaire Jack Dorsey pledged $1 billion, 28% of his net worth, to his own limited liability company called Start Small. Furthermore, Dorsey intends the fund to support global COVID-19 relief and girls’ health and education. Although he has not specified how much of the $1 billion will go to COVID-19 relief, Dorsey is maintaining transparency. He tracks all donations on a spreadsheet open to the public. If 10% of the fund goes to supporting the COVID-19 crisis, the donation would be the largest from a public philanthropist in the U.S. during this pandemic.

These five celebrities donating to fight COVID-19 show that while some celebrities invest money into existing global charities and others create their own, all fight to improve people’s livelihoods. These celebrities serve as a reminder to use privilege and societal standing to benefit those who are less privileged, especially during a global pandemic when the entire world is struggling.

– Kiyomi Kishaba 
Photo: Flickr

Lady Gaga is known for many things. Glamour, fame, sexuality and vocal talent are a few of the adjectives that come to mind. Celebrities like Gaga are so scrutinized for their phenomenal antics on stage and in magazines that people often don’t consider what they are doing off stage.

For instance, Gaga donated all of her online store profits to help the Haiti victims after the earthquake in 2010. In 2011 she designed a prayer bracelet to fundraise for victims in Japan after an earthquake and Tsunami. To help fight HIV/AIDS, the pop-star helped create a lip stick sold under the line Viva Glam through MAC cosmetics. The proceeds were given to an HIV/AIDS foundation. Most recently, Gaga has collaborated with the charity named Sandy Hook Promise, to benefit the charity founded to aid victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

On December 14, 2012, a young man killed twenty students and six employees at Sandy Hook Elementary school. A little over a year has passed since that tragic event, currently considered to be the second largest mass murder by a single person in the history of the United States. Sandy Hook Promise is an organization that was founded after the tragedy to offer support to families affected. Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, has partnered with as a way to personally contribute to Sandy Hook Promise. is a well-known site that holds numerous charity auctions. As such, Gaga is teaming up with the site and auctioning off two VIP tickets to one of her twenty-five concert shows this year, as well as a chance to meet her in person. Though the auction bids have already reached over ten thousand dollars, bidding will continue until January 14, 2014. From bracelets to limited edition lipstick, Gaga has always found a way to make her charity donations very personal. As a native of Yonkers, New York, Gaga grew up as a neighbor to Connecticut. She has professed via twitter how devastating the events in Newtown were to hear about. Encouraging her enormous fan base to bid for a great cause is just one of the ways Lady Gaga continues to help others.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Charity Buzz, Look to the Stars, Mix Matters
Photo: Paqoo

Music has always been one of the most provocative and powerful mediums to promote advocacy and change.  From the protest folk of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, to the Civil Rights soul of Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield, to the politically poignant hip hop of The Roots and Mos Def, music engages us with the issues of our time on an emotional level.

Last week, some of music’s most well known figures joined together to release Songs for the Philippines on iTunes.  Stars both past and present are featured on the album, the proceeds of which will go solely to the Philippine Red Cross to aid in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

Packed with 39 songs (many of which are classics) and a price tag of $9.99, the album makes for a wonderful addition to your holiday shopping list.  Some of the artists included on the album are Bob Dylan, Beyonce, Eminem, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Earth Wind & Fire. Where else can you find such an eclectic mix?  The variety alone makes it a great purchase.

Benefit albums have become a staple for iTunes following natural disasters.  Songs for Japan was released in 2011 to support the victims of the tsunami in Japan.  Much like Songs for the Philippines, Songs for Japan featured a similar variety of artists ranging from John Lennon to U2 to Foo Fighters.  These benefit albums show how the music industry can stand united to support a greater cause.

Of course, that is not to suggest that the artists are randomly chosen.  “This brilliant collection is united by a message of hope and compassion,” according to the iTunes synopsis of Songs for the Philippines.  With titles such as “Hero,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” “Carry You Home,” and of course, “Let It Be,” it’s easy to see such themes.

Songs for the Philippines is a great way to show your support and compassion for the people of the Philippines.  Oh, and in the unlikely event that you already own all 39 songs on the collection, iTunes features a link to the American Red Cross’s donation site for Typhoon Haiyan relief right beside the album.  There is no reason not to contribute.

– Taylor Diamond

Sources: Huffington Post, Spin, iTunes
Photo: Straits Times

While Canadian cosmetic company MAC has developed a cult following for its make up products, it has made over the lives of millions without make up since the company established the MAC AIDS Foundation (MAF) in 1994. Throughout the course of nearly 2 decades, MAC has raised $270 million for HIV/AIDS prevention, education, treatment and support by contributing 100 percent of proceeds from Viva Glam sales to MAF.

In 2010, MAC Viva Glam enlisted songbirds Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper to represent its From Our Lips campaign, which worked to raise awareness about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infections among females – which is especially disproportionate in developing nations. In sub-Saharan Africa, women comprised nearly 60% of those living with HIV/AIDS. Conversely, it has been estimated that 75% of all women with HIV/AIDS live in the region.

A number of reasons factor into this unequal distribution. Studies have shown that women are twice as likely to contract HIV from unprotected intercourse as men, suggesting that women have a greater susceptibility to the virus. Widespread instances of gender based violence and rape in sub-Saharan Africa further compound the prevalence rate. Armed conflict and patriarchy make for a lethal combination because many women who are coerced or forced into sexual acts are not given a choice on whether or not to use a condom.

Infected mothers, moreover, can potentially pass on the virus to their offspring – thereby perpetuating the cycle of HIV/AIDS and the havoc it wreaks upon lives. MAF seeks to address these issues by working with partner organizations to prevent sexual assault closely linked with HIV/AIDS epidemics. Through From Our Lips, MAF provided the National Network to End Domestic Violence with a $100,000 grant to educate advocates on the correlation between sexual violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Through Viva Glam and MAF, MAC and its celebrity endorsers have transcended superficiality to put a spotlight on the inner beauty of compassion – emphasizing everyone’s right to lead a happy and healthy life, regardless of gender or health.

– Melrose Huang

Sources: MAC Aids Fund, NNEDV, AVERT, Forbes, MTV
Photo: LadyLux