African-American celebrities across the country have pledged their support in the aftermath of one of the nation’s worst natural disasters by donating millions of dollars to various relief organizations.
The Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL) have all collected millions of dollars from their players and have launched campaigns to raise relief money.
"What we are trying to do is to let them know that they are cared for," said NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. He is one of 20 players, including LeBron James and Steve Francis, scheduled to pay $1 million to play in the NBA Players Hurricane Relief Game.
"We as Americans rally around our people-. This is just a small part of what we are all doing to help," said Bryant.
BET (Black Entertainment Television) hosted a telethon of its own called "Saving Our Souls," which added a reported $10 million to the hundreds of millions of dollars already raised by other networks.
Meanwhile, hip-hop moguls Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs each added $1 million to the coffers of the American Red Cross. They have also donated large amounts of clothing from their respective companies, Roc-a-Wear and Sean John.
"These are our people. I can't stand around waiting for these people to be taken care of - we have to take care of them ourselves," said Diddy.
"I urge all our fellow artists and Americans to answer the call. These are communities that I know, communities that have always supported me. Now it's my turn to support them."
"This event has devastated hundreds of thousands of people," said Jay-Z. "We, as African-American men and leaders of our community, felt it was a necessity to join forces and help. Diddy and I are committed to supporting our people in whichever way we can."Rapper David Banner, through his foundation, Heal The Hood, plans to host a Sept. 17 benefit concert featuring T.I., Nelly, and Twista.
Some celebrities found that donating money alone was inadequate and took a more hands on approach. Singer Macy Gray spent a day at Houston's Astrodome handing out supplies to evacuees.
In addition, Michael Jackson penned a song called "From the Bottom of My Heart," which he planned to record a la "We Are the World," a 1985 hit he wrote and produced that raised millions of dollars for African aid.