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Global Citizen Festival 2016 performers you won't want to miss: Rihanna, more

For the past four years, the Global Citizen Festival has brought some of music’s biggest stars to Central Park in the name of encouraging people to get involved in improving the lives of others. This year’s festival is headlined by Metallica, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Demi Lovato and Major Lazer.

As with previous years, the concert is free, but the only way to get in is through a ticket lottery where the price of entry is taking actions such as signing petitions, sending emails to public officials or posting on social media about issues such as women’s equality, education, hunger, sanitation and health. A campaign is running now through Aug. 23, and new campaigns will start after that through most of September. Since 2012, more than six million actions have been taken as a result of the festival.

The 2016 Global Citizen Festival is on Sept. 24 in Central Park. For more information visit

Here’s a look at this year’s performers.


Year started: 1981 Charitable endeavors: Metallica often donates
Photo Credit: Getty Images for CBS / Kevin Winter

Year started: 1981

Charitable endeavors: Metallica often donates to local community service organizations in the cities where it plays. Singer James Hetfield, right, has also been a supporter of MusicCares, which helps musicians deal with financial, medical and personal emergencies. Earlier this year, the group released a live album recorded at the Bataclan in Paris to raise money for victims of the terrorist attack there.

Breakthrough performance: Performing in front of 70,000 people at England's Monsters of Rock festival, alongside Bon Jovi and Ratt in 1985.

Memorable NYC moment: Performing "Enter Sandman" in the Yankee Stadium bullpen on Mariano Rivera Day in 2013, as the reliever had his number retired.

Famous quote: "I'm always feeling like I don't belong no matter where I am. So I'm just searching for a family nonstop, and sometimes I find it in the mosh pit, sometimes I find it when I'm doing some French TV show with the president's wife." -- James Hetfield, Time Out New York, June 2012

Kendrick Lamar

Year started: 2004 Charitable endeavors: Last year, Lamar
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Theo Wargo

Year started: 2004

Charitable endeavors: Last year, Lamar was praised for his charity work on the floor of the California Senate, which noted his donations to Compton schools. Lamar is also a supporter of the Red Cross and the Obama administration's "My Brother's Keeper" youth mentorship initiative.

Breakthrough performance: During a 2011 Lamar concert in Hollywood, Snoop Dogg and the Game made surprise appearances and told Lamar they were passing him the torch.

Memorable NYC moment: In his much-praised verse on Big Sean's "Control," Lamar declared himself "King of New York," despite being from LA. As you might imagine, this didn't sit well with a lot of New York rappers. During an interview with an LA radio station, Lamar explained himself by saying, "It's not about actually being the king of whatever coast. It's about leaving a mark as great as Biggie, as great as Pac."

Famous quote: "My whole thing is to inspire, to better people, to better myself forever in this thing that we call rap, this thing that we call hip-hop." -- Hot 97, August 2013


Year started: 2003 Charitable endeavors: In 2012, Rihanna
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

Year started: 2003

Charitable endeavors: In 2012, Rihanna launched the Clara Lionel Foundation, which works to improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts and culture. Before that, she founded the Believe Foundation when she was just 18 years old to help terminally ill children.

Breakthrough performance: At a Def Jam records showcase in New York with several other artists early in her career, Rihanna impressed Beyoncé, who told label head L.A. Reid, "That Rihanna girl ... she's a beast."

Memorable NYC moment: Rihanna lives in Manhattan and got her big break here when she auditioned for Jay Z and L.A. Reid. After the audition, Reid wouldn't let her leave the building until she signed a contract.

Famous quote: "You just want something else that someone else has, but that doesn't mean what you have isn't beautiful, because people always want what you have, and you always want what they have -- no one is ever 100% like, 'Yes, I'm the bomb dot com -- from head to toe!'" -- The Mirror, March 2012

Demi Lovato

Year started: 2008 (as a musician) Charitable endeavors:
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mike Lawrie

Year started: 2008 (as a musician)

Charitable endeavors: After checking into rehab and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, Lovato became a mental health advocate. She launched the "Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health" campaign in 2015. The singer is also a known supporter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation's largest organization dedicated to bettering the lives of families affected by various disorders.

Breakthrough performance: Lovato's comeback performance after checking out of rehab was her music video for the single "Skyscraper" off her 2011 album, "Unbroken." Fans could see and feel the emotion still raw in Lovato's every word.

Memorable NYC moment: In April 2011, Lovato opened up about being bullied, self-harming and her mental health during a revealing taping of "Good Morning America."

Famous quote: "Every day is a new opportunity to change your life and be who you want to be." -- Seventeen Magazine, June 2014

Major Lazer

Year Started: 2009 Charitable endeavors: In terms of
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Theo Wargo

Year Started: 2009

Charitable endeavors: In terms of philanthropy, Major Lazer co-founder Diplo is best known for his Heaps Decent initiative, which helps underprivileged and indigenous people in Australia.

Breakthrough performance: While Diplo, above center, was already well-known, Major Lazer quickly forged its own reputation with its 2010 performance at Coachella, which was notable for the high-energy antics of then-hype man Skerrit Bwoy. Earlier this year, Major Lazer delivered a different kind of breakthrough performance, becoming the first American act to play in Cuba in more than 10 years.

Memorable NYC moment: Like Gomez, Diplo is based on the West Coast, but spends plenty of time in the city, appearing at local festivals, Fashion Week and headlining Madison Square Garden with Skrillex on New Year's Eve 2014. He has been bringing his Mad Decent Block Party to New York every year since 2010. It was one of the first cities to host the party after it expanded from Mad Decent Records' original Philadelphia home.

Famous quote: "I'm trying to always do new things because if you stay behind and fight the future, you are just going to be left behind." -- Diplo, Complex, April 2012


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