Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey will headline a one-hour benefit telethon to benefit hurricane victims that will be simulcast Tuesday night on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CMT.
The benefit originally was intended to help Texas victims of Harvey but was expanded to help people affected by Irma.
The event will be telecast live at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and on tape delay on the West Coast. It is being organized by Houston rap artist Bun B and Scooter Braun, founder of SB Projects. The show will also be streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Bun B, a Houston native and lecturer at Rice University, said he was trying to organize a local event through his contacts and recognized that Harvey was a broader tragedy.
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“One morning it just hit me — this is a national disaster,” he said. “It’s personal for me because it’s home to me, it’s in my city, but it’s a national disaster.”
He enlisted the help of Braun, who has worked with Usher, Ariana Grande, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and others, to tap into his Hollywood contacts. Within 48 hours of trying, they reached agreements with the television networks to carry the event.
Braun said he hoped the telethon could be a unifying event for a country that has seen so much division. The organizers said they were inspired by television reports of volunteers who formed a human chain to help rescue one Houston victim from the flood.
“People want a sense of unity,” Braun said.
George Clooney, Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Ryan Seacrest, Michael Strahan, Kelly Rowland, George Strait, Reese Witherspoon and others will also participate with taped or live messages. Journalists Matt Lauer and Norah O’Donnell will also participate. More celebrities are expected.
It will benefit several organizations, including United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas and The Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief.
Other entertainment figures have already stepped up to help flood victims. The ABC networks held a “day of giving” last week, and singers Paul Simon and Edie Brickell pledged $1 million.
The telethon will air from Los Angeles, but there will be stages in New York and Nashville, Tenn. A performance from George Strait’s San Antonio benefit concert for Harvey will also be shown.