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Celebs band together for Hurricane relief telethon

HELPING HAND: Stevie Wonder and Oprah Winfrey

THE “HAND in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief” telethon brought together celebrates across sport, music, film and more to raise money for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The star-studded phone bank for the event included: Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj, Lupita N'yongo, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Cher, Justin Bieber, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Tyler Perry, and many more raising money for the homes and lives destroyed in places like Houston, Texas, and the Florida Keys.

In addition to those who were there, many stars provided video messages of support for the victims of both storms. Beyoncé, a Houston native, said in her message, “Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Jewish or Muslim, rich or poor…We’re all in this together.”

Action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also sent in a video message in which he shared his family’s own experience of surviving Hurricane Andrew when he was just a child. “There are no strangers in the aftermath of a hurricane,” Johnson said. “No political parties, no agendas…It’s all about survival and coming together as one because that’s all that matters.”

The special event was also filled with musical performances, including Stevie Wonder opening the show with a performance of “Lean on Me.” Later on, Usher and Blake Shelton, performing live in Nashville, played a rendition of “Stand By Me,” while Tori Kelly and Luis Fonsi sang “Hallelujah,” to name just a few of the moving performances.

As the night closed, Crystal thanked the audience for tuning in and announced that the telethon raised over $14.5 million in just an hour, as well as saying that phone lines will be open all night for those wishing to donate.

The telethon was originally put together to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey, but was expanded to include those affected by Hurricane Irma as well. Proceeds from the event will be distributed to a range of charities aiding recovery efforts, including the United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Feeding Texas and the Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

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