Comedian Kevin Hart raised his initial donation to Hurricane Harvey relief from $25,000 to $50,000 Monday as he encouraged fellow celebrities to pitch in to American Red Cross efforts.
“Serious moment right now,” Hart, 38, said in an Instagram video. “I’ve just been caught up to speed on everything that’s going on in Houston where Hurricane Harvey [struck] . . . I’m challenging a lot of my celebrity friends to follow my lead in donating $25,000 to Hurricane Harvey, to the Red Cross, OK? . . . I’m gonna lead the charge in stepping up in this way. I challenge Barack [Obama], Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Jerry Seinfeld, and I think when you do it, you all should tag somebody else. $25,000 is coming from me. Prayers go out to Houston.”
He tweeted later that, “I will also be donating 50k instead of the 25k…I know a lot of my friends will follow.“
Former President Obama tweeted, “Thank you to all the first responders and people helping each other out. That’s what we do as Americans,” and retweeted a Red Cross post that said, “Visit http://redcross.org , call 1-800-RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.” The other celebrities Hart listed, which included actor Dwayne Johnson in the video’s accompanying text, had not responded on social media as of Monday afternoon except for pop star and Houston native Beyoncé, who posted on Instagram, “Texas you are in my prayers.”
Country-music star Chris Young likewise solicited help for victims of the devastating hurricane, pledging $100,000 to relief efforts and initiating the crowdsourcing campaign GoFundMe.com/HarveyRelief.
Entertainers retweeting Red Cross links included Rosie O’Donnell, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Gad, Taran Killam, Katy Perry, Leah Remini, Jason Ritter, Adam Scott and “Star Trek” alumni George Takei and Brent Spiner, a Houston native. Ellen DeGeneres additionally pleaded for “the pets and other animals in Texas also need our help,” giving a link to the SPCA of Texas.
Patricia Heaton tweeted a link to the Christian-oriented World Vision International, while Chelsea Handler posted one to the Massachusetts-based All Hands Volunteers. Houston-area native Randy Quaid tweeted, “Was born in Harris county TX, know it! If you need help, in danger, will [retweet] your address and location,” and then did so for many in need.
Houston native Alison Tolman (“Fargo,” “Downward Dog”), whose family lives in the affected area, posted a long series of tweets, beginning: “My hometown is under water,” and addressing commenters who had questioned the lack of mandatory evacuation for the county’s 4.6 million residents. “Evacuation isn’t plausible for everyone,” she wrote. “Many people don’t have the means or access to leave their homes. And even for those that can- evacuating a city the size of Houston is a massive undertaking. My parents sat on the freeway for twelve, thirteen, fourteen hours while evacuating during [2005’s] Hurricane Rita. . . . Houston needs prayers, donations, and flat bottom boats right now — not unhelpful comments about how people should be trying harder to not die.”