More than 70 artists came together for the huge One World: Together at Home concert presented by Global Citizen. Curated by American popstar Lady Gaga, the lineup featured familiar global names and among them was Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi, the only Arab artist to be a part of the historic broadcast. The concert screened in two parts via an online livestream as well as a televised broadcast from April 18 to April 19 in the UAE. According to Global Citizen, the eight-hour-long concert was viewed by over 17 million people and that USD 127.9 million (AED 469.7 million) was raised, out of which USD 55.1 million will be provided to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO and USD 72.8 million to local and regional responders.
Here are a few of the best moments of the multi-hour concert.
Hussain Al Jassmi salutes the UAE
Making Emiratis everywhere proud, Al Jassmi made his appearance at the concert in a white kandoura with a UAE flag pin clipped on it. “Up next is the incomparable Hussain Al Jassmi,” said ‘Good Place’ actor Jameela Jamil introducing him after English singer Rita Ora wrapped up her performance. Sat by the piano, he played two songs Bahebek Wahashtini and Mohem Jedan but not before delivering a message in Arabic on his home country’s efforts in combatting the pandemic. “The UAE has provided aid to more than 15 countries around the world through ongoing medical and humanitarian aid,” he said. “I’m proud to be an Emirati and I hope the dark cloud hovering over us will end soon, so we can meet again and go back to our regular encounters, through concerts and social visits.”
Migrant Emirati doctors discuss their experience
Al Jassmi’s speech was not the only time the efforts of Emiratis were praised during the concert. Later, Ajlan Al Zaki from Stanford University in California and Aisha Al Mundhiri, an obstetrician and gynecologist from the Claude Bernard University Hospital in Paris appeared on-screen to discuss what it was like dealing with the pandemic in a foreign country away from home. “As I saw my fellow Emiratis go back home, I knew that being in the UAE would be the safest place for my family and myself. However, I was torn because I simply couldn’t abandon my patients and medical colleagues during this time when doctors are needed the most,” said Dr Al Zaki. “I knew that this is a sacrifice that I would have to make at some point in my career when I became a doctor and took the Hippocratic Oath.” Dr Al Mundhiri added, “This is part of our values in medicine, which is to serve humanity.”
Beyoncé’s surprise appearance
American singing sensation Beyoncé made a surprise appearance at the concert to not only thank the frontline workers for their efforts but also highlight the situation of the vulnerable communities. “To the doctors, the nurses, and other health care workers who are away from their families, taking care of ours, we continue to pray for your safety,” said Beyoncé. “To those in the food industry, delivery workers, mail carriers, and sanitation employees, who are working so that we can be safe in our homes, we thank you for your selfless service.”
“Black Americans disproportionately belong to these essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home,” she continued. “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.”
“Please, protect yourselves,” she added. “We are one family and we need you. We need your voices, your abilities, and your strength all over this world.”
Moving performances and an iconic closer
Throughout the show, stellar performances were also given by Taylor Swift, who sang a moving rendition of a song she wrote about her mother’s battle with cancer titled Soon You’ll Get Better, while Jennifer Lopez used her powerhouse vocals to deliver her take on Barbra Streisand’s People. American singer and rapper also made an appearance for a stripped-back and beautiful cover of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come. Closing the two-hour show, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, John Legend and Andrea Bocelli came together for a stunning four-part harmony of The Prayer, a track originally recorded by Dion and Bocelli 21 years ago. With piano virtuoso Lang Lang on the keys, this collaboration was easily one for the history books.