Music superstar Beyoncé Knowles used her slot during the “One World: Together at Home” concert to highlight the disproportionately high death rates from coronavirus among black communities in the US.
In a video message for the special broadcast of music, comedy and personal stories celebrating key workers around the world, the singer said ‘this virus is killing black people at an alarming rate in America’ and urged viewers to protect themselves
Curated by Lady Gaga, One World: Together at home was a Global Citizen organized campaign concert aimed at rallying funds for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Rolling Stones, Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones and other stars in self-isolation performed as songs were interspersed with messages of solidarity from actors such as Matthew McConaughey and Lupita Nyong’o.
Global Citizen has since announced that that the show raised $127m for coronavirus relief efforts. In her surprise guest appearance during the concert, Beyoncé pointed out that African Americans, most of who are in essential services, were disproportionately affected by the virus.
“Black Americans disproportionately belong to these essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home,” the singer said.
“And 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.”
America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new, preliminary nationwide data on Friday that revealed 30 percent of Covid-19 patients are African American, even though African Americans make up around 13 percent of the population of the United States.
In her speech, Beyonce shared even more damning statistics. “A recent report from my home city of Houston, Texas, shows that of COVID-19 deaths within Houston city limits, 57 percent of fatal cases are African-Americans,” she said.
“Please protect yourselves. We are one family, and we need you. We need your voices, your abilities and your strength all over this world. I know it’s very hard. Please be patient, stay encouraged, keep the faith, stay positive and continue to pray for our heroes.”
Meanwhile, in a video shared by her grandmother Tina Knowles on Instagram, Beyoncé’s’ daughter Blue Ivy encouraged people to wash their hands. She went on to demonstrate how soap and water could help eliminate the virus.
“Peace out. I hope you guys are staying safe. Wash your hands extra and please stay at home. Love ya’ll. Bye,” she said before signing out.