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One World concert raises €118 million for Covid-19 response

Lady Gaga, the Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney took part in the event.

MUSICIANS INCLUDING SIR Paul McCartney, Beyoncé and the Rolling Stones took part in a broadcast celebrating health workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

Curated by Lady Gaga, the One World: Together At Home event attracted some of the biggest names in music in a show of gratitude to those around the world fighting the outbreak.

The eight-hour event began yesterday, including a two-hour TV broadcast in the US presented by late night hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert.

It will be adapted and shown on RTÉ and the BBC later today.

Global Citizen said the event raised $127.9 million (about €118 million), providing $55.1 million (€50.6 million) to the WHO’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $72.8 million (€67 million) to local and regional responders.

Lady Gaga opened and closed the broadcast, kicking proceedings off with a cover of Charlie Chaplin’s Smile, and was followed by Stevie Wonder, who sang Lean On Me in tribute to the late Bill Withers.

The Rolling Stones were among the featured acts, with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts appearing from their respective homes to perform You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

McCartney sent a message of gratitude to healthcare workers, saying “we love you, we thank you”, before singing the Beatles’ hit Lady Madonna.

The revered rocker issued a call to governments around the world to strengthen health systems to prevent another crisis. Before performing, he also paid tribute to his mother Mary, a former nurse and midwife.

African-American communities 

In one of the night’s most memorable moments, Beyoncé broke from the uplifting tone of the other stars on show to highlight the deadly impact coronavirus was having on black Americans.

The singer, who also paid tribute to health workers and other frontline staff, said: “Black Americans disproportionately belong to these essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home. African-American communities at large have been severely affected in this crisis.

“Those with pre-existing conditions are at an even higher risk. This virus is killing black people at an alarmingly high rate here in America.”

She then cited grim statistics form her hometown of Houston, Texas, that showed 57% of fatal Covid-19 cases are African-American.

Sir Elton John appeared from his back garden in Los Angeles and raised spirits with an energetic performance of I’m Still Standing.

Taylor Swift performed her song Soon You’ll Get Better, a poignant track about her mother’s cancer diagnosis. “You’ll get better soon,” Swift sang. “‘Cause you have to.”

Jennifer Lopez channelled Barbra Streisand as she sang People from the 1964 musical Funny Girl.

Throughout the broadcast, Kimmel, Fallon and Colbert highlighted individual cases of frontline workers, including doctors and nurses.

Viewers heard uplifting stories of bravery and sacrifice, including stories of nurses continuing to work while their colleagues fell ill, and scientists provided an update on the response, urging people to stay indoors.

The concert will air on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player from 7pm-9pm today.

With reporting by Órla Ryan 

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