Celebs all over the globe, broadcasting from different cities across the US and abroad, came together last night for a multi-network telethon called Hope for Haiti Now in an effort to inspire viewers at home to donate funds for the relief effort in Haiti. George Clooney, who organized the telethon, played host for the event while various celebs manned the phone lines to take in donations and others performed live thruout the show:
Solemn music from the world’s biggest stars served as the soundtrack to Friday night’s telethon for Haiti relief, but the fundraiser ended with Wyclef Jean shouting “Enough of the moping, let’s rebuild Haiti.” Organizers did not immediately say how much money was raised during the two-hour “Hope for Haiti Now” show, but donations will continue to flow in as the phone lines remained open and the night’s musical performances are sold on iTunes. A moving performance by Alicia Keys opened the telethon. Actor George Clooney, serving as the Los Angeles host for the event, made the first appeal for donations to raise money for relief efforts after last week’s devastating earthquake. “The Haitian people need our help,” Clooney said. “They need to know they are not alone. They need to know that we still care.” The show was one of the most widely distributed prime-time televised benefits in history, appearing simultaneously on more than 25 networks — including CNN, where Anderson Cooper reported live from Haiti during the event. Children left homeless and orphaned by the earthquake were front and center. “Hundreds and thousands of children in Haiti are lost and they’re looking for their parents,” actress Halle Berry said. “Please, look into your heart. Please, help these children of Haiti.” Cooper, in one of several live appearances, was joined by 5-year-old Monley, a Haitian boy who was pulled alive — but severely dehydrated — from the rubble nearly eight days after the quake. Ten members of his family, including both parents, were killed. Actor Samuel L. Jackson, walking in front of a phone bank staffed by celebrities, assured viewers that “100 percent of your donations will go directly to organizations that are on the ground right now.” More than 100 actors, musicians and other celebrities answered phones in New York and Los Angeles — after professional operators first talked to donors. “Thank you so much for your donation,” actress Reese Witherspoon told one caller. “You can’t imagine how much love and great, wonderful energy is here today. People are doing everything they can to make a difference in these people’s lives.” “I’m just calling to help out,” the male donor said. “I couldn’t donate a lot, but what I could I did donate” … Wyclef Jean — a native of Haiti and the New York host for the event — talked about his visit last week to Haiti. “I was there to clear away concrete and pull away rubble,” Jean said. “I carried bodies of my people to the cemetery.” Jean’s “Yele Haiti Foundation” will receive some of the money raised. “From the ashes we shall rise, so please give what you can,” he said. Bruce Springsteen performed “We Shall Overcome,” a spiritual that became the anthem of the U.S civil rights movement. “This is a small prayer for Haiti,” Springsteen said as he began. Other musical performers included Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Christina Aguilera, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Jennifer Hudson, Madonna, Dave Matthews and Neil Young … The show — presented by MTV — was carried on CNN.com/Live and the CNN iPhone application. Other networks airing “Hope for Haiti” included ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, BET, The CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT. The show was also aired on the Discovery’s eco-lifestyle television network, Planet Green. Proceeds from the telethon will benefit Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF, the U.N. World Food Programme, Yele Haiti Foundation, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Foundation.
The performances were solemn, yes, but the images that were broadcast of the suffering in Haiti were devastatingly heartbreaking. If you were particularly fond of any one performance, you can purchase a special edition album of performances from iTunes with the proceeds going to the charities associated with Hope for Haiti Now. After the jump, check out a short video of highlights from last night’s telethon and watch a beautiful acoustic performance of Like a Prayer by Madonna … More »