Metallica and Mariah Carey led an A-list of musicians on Saturday, and President Joe Biden made a surprise video appearance, as the Global Citizen Festival sought to mobilize action against poverty and climate change.
Celebrating its 10th year, the six-hour festival drew thousands to New York’s Central Park and featured a sister show in Ghana’s capital, Accra, where performers included American R&B great Usher and British icon Grime Stormzy.
Global Citizen awards tickets to fans in exchange for their commitment to take action to eradicate extreme poverty – such as reaching out to elected officials to encourage foreign aid – and coincides with the annual United Nations General Assembly in hopes to put pressure on world leaders.
“We are inspired and grateful for all the work you have done and want you to know – your fight is our fight,” First Lady Jill Biden said in a video appearance next to her husband.
President Biden – along with leading Senate and House Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who both appeared in person – highlighted a new climate package that is the most ambitious legislation ever passed in the United States to stimulate clean energy.
But Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados has warned that action on climate change cannot come fast enough for islands like hers.
“Yes, my friends, our time is running out,” she said.
Thrash metal legends Metallica got the crowd dancing with eight songs, including a version of “Nothing Else Matters” featuring vocalist Mickey Guyton, who spoke openly about her experiences as one of the most for country music.
Guests sought to raise awareness on a range of issues, including women’s rights, particularly in light of large protests in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was reportedly beaten to death following her arrest by vice police which enforces the dress codes of clerical leaders for women. .
“I saw my sisters forced to flee abuse, oppression and femicide all over the world, women like Mahsa Jina Amini,” said Anuscheh Amir-Khalili, an Iranian-born refugee advocate in Berlin.
“We must stand up for oppressed women. I am there for them,” she told the crowd.
European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen, appearing on stage, said: “We have to take care of our girls and our women. They deserve it.”
She highlighted Europe’s recent pledges, including €600 million for food security in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, amid growing hunger in much of the world, aggravated by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Mariah Carey was introduced by ballerina Misty Copeland, who qualified the singer with her famous inspirational vocal range, and was accompanied by a choreographed dance to her classic song “Hero.”
Other performers included Maneskin, the next-gen Italian glam rockers who put on an energetic set, Spanish pop star Rosalia and the Jonas Brothers, with Nick Jonas’ wife, Indian film star Priyanka Chopra, in as master of ceremonies.
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