Celebrities and musicians answered the phones and put on a show at Friday's all-star, international "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, which featured two hours of pleas for the earthquake-ravaged nation. But it ended on a hopeful note, with a buoyant song calling for Haiti's revival by native son Wyclef Jean.
NEW YORK — Grim-faced celebrities and musicians with mournful tunes set the tone for the all-star, international “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon, which featured two hours of pleas for the earthquake-ravaged nation. But it ended on a hopeful note, with a buoyant call for Haiti’s revival by native son Wyclef Jean.
“Enough of this moping man, let’s rebuild Haiti, let’s show ‘em how we do it where we come from!” Jean shouted after singing “Rivers of Babylon.”
He segued into the joyful tune “Yele” with an island beat, as musicians danced, singing the refrain: “Earthquake, we see the earth shake, but the soul of the Haitian people will never break!”
It was a contrast from the opening of the telecast: no words, simply photos of Haiti’s citizens as a backdrop, as Alicia Keys called for the help of angels in somber tune.
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“Can you send me an angel to guide me?” Keys sang from her song “Prelude to a Kiss.” There was no audience or applause, allowing the moment to sink in for the millions expected to watch.
“The Haitian people need our help,” said George Clooney, who helped organize the two-hour telecast. “They need to know that they are not alone. They need to know that we still care.”
Then, after an impassioned plea from Halle Berry, Bruce Springsteen dedicated a song for Haiti: “We Shall Overcome.”
The entertainment world has responded to the Jan. 12 earthquake with an outpouring of charity, from million-dollar donations to songs designed to raise money for relief.
On Friday night, those efforts became collective as the biggest celebrities from music, film, sports and politics joined for the telethon. Stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts answered telephones while CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported from Haiti.
Although the celebrity phone bank appeared to be continuously busy with donation calls, it was not immediately known how much money was raised by the show.
Most of the musical performances were downbeat. John Legend sang “I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” Kid Rock, Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow sang “Lean on Me.” Beyoncé, with Coldplay’s Chris Martin backing her on piano, revised her hit “Halo” with new lyrics: “Haiti we can see your halo, we pray you won’t fade away.”
Madonna provided one of the few upbeat moments with her choir-backed performance of “Like a Prayer,” while Sting’s “Driven to Tears” was also spirited.
Jay-Z, Rihanna and U2’s Bono and The Edge debuted a song, “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour).”
The telethon was broadcast from New York, London, Los Angeles and Haiti, and was featured on all the major networks and channels. It was also streamed live on sites such as YouTube and MySpace.
Haitians were able to listen on Radio One Haiti.