Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, Julia Roberts, George Clooney and several other celebrities took part in the “Hand in Hand” telethon Tuesday night to raise recovery funds following storms Harvey and Irma. Together, their star power — combined with moving speeches about survivors and performances — helped raise more than $44 million for hurricane relief.
The one-hour telethon, which aired on ABC and other major television networks, kicked off in Los Angeles with a gospel choir joining Stevie Wonder in a “Lean on Me” rendition. Gomez, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé, among others, gave speeches and led prayers that moved them nearly to tears.
“During the time where it’s impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country, just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage and forever change lives,” Beyoncé said. “Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor … we’re all in this together.”
The telethon swapped back and forth between Nashville — where Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Usher and Blake Shelton took the lead — California and New York City.
Here’s what the telethon headquarters looked like in Times Square, where actors, performers and comedians tried to fight the humor in an event charged with emotion.