With the coronavirus pandemic effectively slowing the music industry to a halt, countless musicians have attempted to entertain their fans by hosting live-streamed concerts, participating in virtual rap battles and even dropping surprise singles.
However, some are taking it the extra mile by using their influence to raise money for those especially affected by the virus or simply donating themselves. From Rihanna’s hefty donation to victims of domestic abuse to Brad Paisley’s free grocery store in Nashville, here’s how some of music’s biggest names have been giving back.
Lady Gaga has raised a total of $35 million in partnership with Global Citizen to provide protective gear for health workers and develop vaccines, according to a post on her Twitter. She also announced on Monday that she has co-curated One World: Together At Home, a benefit concert that will be live streamed on April 18. Hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, the special will feature appearances by Billie Eilish, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Elton John, John Legend, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and of course, Gaga herself.
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) April 7, 2020
U2 has donated $10.9 million to their home country of Ireland to be used for personal protective equipment, according to People. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Twitter that the government has used this money to order an amount of supplies that would typically last the country a decade.
On March 21, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation announced via Instagram that it would donate $5 million to Partners In Health, Direct Relief, Feeding America, International Rescue Committee, World Health Organization and the country of Barbados in order to combat coronavirus. Furthermore, she provided an undisclosed supply of personal protective equipment to the state of New York and pledged another $1 million along with Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation to support vulnerable populations including undocumented workers, incarcerated people and homeless communities. On Thursday, Rihanna announced that she and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey will each give $2.1 million to the Mayor’s Fund of Los Angeles to support victims of domestic abuse during the safer-at-home order.
Recording Academy and MusiCares
The Recording Academy and its charitable affiliate MusiCares set up a $2 million relief fund for those in the music industry in financial need as a result of coronavirus. Musicians can apply on the MusiCares website and receive a maximum of $1,000.
On April 4, Elton John launched a $1 million relief fund through the Elton John AIDS foundation to ensure that those with HIV can still receive the care they need. “We must keep up our momentum or the results could be disastrous for those living with HIV and other infectious diseases,” John said in his video announcement posted to Twitter.
After revealing in an Instagram post that she had contracted the virus herself, Pink pledged $500,000 to the Temple University Hospital Emergency Fund and $500,000 to the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund for a total of $1 million donated. “This illness is serious and real,” Pink said in her post. “People need to know that the illness affects the young and old, healthy and unhealthy, rich and poor, and we must make testing free and more widely accessible to protect our children, our families, our friends and our communities.”
Country icon Dolly Parton announced via Instagram April 1 that she would be giving $1 million toward coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University. “My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure,” Parton shared in her post. She has also written a poem inspired by the virus and made 93 of her classic songs available on all streaming services.
Jay-Z and Meek Mill
On top of the $1 million Jay-Z donated with Rihanna, he also partnered with Meek Mill to give 100,000 masks to prisons across the country, as reported by CBS. Their donation was on behalf of Jay-Z and Mill’s Reform Alliance, an initiative the two launched last year to fight injustice within the prison system.
After his Las Vegas residency was put on hold, Bruno Mars has gifted $1 million to the MGM Resorts Foundation, according to E! News. This money will go to MGM employees who have been laid off as a result of the pandemic.
Cardi B has teamed up with brand Fashion Nova to give away $1,000 every hour to her fans in need until they reach $1 million. The rapper announced her initiative on Instagram April 8, telling her followers to submit an application on Fashion Nova’s website so that she can help “pay bills, feed your families, and take care of your overall essential needs.”
Celebrated singer-songwriter James Taylor and his wife, Kim Taylor, gave $1 million to Massachusetts General Hospital to aid in their fight against coronavirus. Massachusetts General Hospital is close to Taylor’s heart: he was born at the hospital and his father, Isaac, completed his residency there.
Madonna donated $1 million to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in hopes of helping them fund the creation of a coronavirus vaccine, she announced in a video on her Instagram. “No matter how inconvenienced or put-out we feel, we need to remember that we are alive,” Madonna said. “We need to be grateful and do what we can to help.”
Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson revealed to Jimmy Fallon on April 8 that they have provided 1 million meals to those in need in Seattle via Feeding America. Their “Meals Up” campaign went on to inspire others to give as well, including football stars Tom Brady and JJ Watt, eventually leading to over 10 million meals donated.
The Billy Joel Foundation donated $500,000 to Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong effort to provide healthcare workers in New York state with personal protective equipment. Joel also announced his foundation’s partnership with Long Island Cares on April 7 via Twitter, saying his foundation would gift them freezer units in order to allow for fresher food and perishable items for families in need.