Celebrities come out to support Katrina victims

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May 3, 2005
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I've been watching CNN, and watching the news, and other than Harry Connick jr., hadn't heard much about what our celebrities are doing to help the victims of Katrina. Found this article....

Stars come out to offer support, money for victims

NEW YORK (AP) — Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Master P and Dave Matthews are contributing star power to relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

DeGeneres, a New Orleans native whose 82-year-old aunt, cousins and friends had their Gulf Coast homes destroyed, has taped an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show dedicated to discussion of the devastation. It will air Monday, the start of the syndicated talk show's third season.

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"We have a different show planned for you today because things have changed and we cannot pretend they haven't," DeGeneres tells the audience. "I can't pretend to do a normal show."

DeGeneres also plans to announce a hurricane relief fund. The show's producer, Warner Bros. Entertainment, said it would donate $500,000 and match viewers' contributions up to another $500,000.

NBC aired a heartfelt and dignified live benefit Friday night featuring some 18 celebrities, including Wynton Marsalis, Lindsay Lohan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harry Connick Jr., Tim McGraw, Mike Myers, Hilary Swank, Claire Danes, John Goodman and Aaron Neville. It took an unexpected turn when the outspoken rapper Kanye West launched into a tirade about the government's response to the disaster, claiming "George Bush doesn't care about black people." (Related item: West blasts Bush)

NBC eventually cut away from West and host Matt Lauer noted that "emotions in this country right now are running very high." Then the entire ensemble performed When the Saints Go Marching In.

Beginning Tuesday, Jay Leno will ask his Tonight Show guests to sign a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that will be put up for bid later this month on the eBay Internet auction site.

Earlier this year, the NBC late-night talk show raised $810,000 for tsunami victims in Asia by asking guests such as Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Dustin Hoffman to sign a Harley-Davidson cycle.

Master P, whose house in New Orleans was destroyed, has formed a foundation called Team Rescue to "save the neighborhood and rebuild our communities." The rapper was still looking Thursday for missing family members in the New Orleans area.

The Dave Matthews Band, which has played at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, announced a Sept. 12 benefit concert in Denver.

"We're just getting in line behind those people, getting in line a long way behind the Red Cross or National Guard, but we all have to do a little bit," Matthews told The Associated Press.

E! Networks announced that it would produce a public service announcement to support the American Red Cross featuring Eva Longoria, Pamela Anderson, Destiny's Child, Steve Carell, Nicole Richie, John Larroquette, Mariah Carey, Carlos Santana and Paula Abdul.

Larroquette, a New Orleans native, said Friday he would also contribute artwork to an online auction organized by actor Morgan Freeman.

"I feel quite impotent in this situation," said Larroquette. "Since I can't get down there on the ground and help ... I just want to help appeal to people to care about people in this country as we do so generously to those in trouble around the world."

Alan Jackson, Keith Urban and Alison Krauss will perform a Grand Ole Opry benefit concert in Nashville, on Sept. 27. It will air live on cable network Great American Country.

Velvet Revolver will play a benefit concert at the Orlando, Hard Rock live concert venue. The rock band had been scheduled to perform at the Sept. 9 opening of the Hard Rock in Biloxi, Miss. — which was damaged severely in the hurricane.

Jazz will also get into the act. Marsalis, Bill Cosby, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall will perform the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert for Jazz at Lincoln Center Sept. 17 in New York.

Many stars have also pledged money directly to the Red Cross.

Celine Dion and the partners of her Las Vegas show, A New Day— companies Concerts West/AEG Live and Dragone — pledged $1 million.

Sean "Diddy" Combs and Jay-Z jointly pledged $1 million. Nicolas Cage, who has a home in New Orleans, also pledged $1 million.

The rappers said they felt responsible to give because many of those most affected are black.

"We are all descendants from each other's families," Diddy said. "When you hear black people say 'brothers' and 'sisters,' it's really true. These are all people that I know I'm related to somehow, some way — the human race family."

Cage's publicist, Annett Wolf, said the Oscar-winning actor "wishes to help his neighbors during this most devastating time."

Hilary Duff said she will give $200,000 to the Red Cross and $50,000 to USA Harvest, which is supplying food to shelters. The 17-year-old actress-singer is encouraging fans to bring canned food donations to her concerts.

Pat Sajak, who was taping Wheel of Fortune in New Orleans last week before the show canceled early to get out of town, said he had donated $100,000 through the Lesley and Pat Sajak Foundation.

Some of the most visible work by celebrities will be seen on TV.

Jerry Lewis said his annual telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which begins Sunday night (check local listings), would also include appeals for donations to hurricane victims.

Chris Rock, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Diddy, Russell Simmons, Marsalis and Master P will participate in a telethon Sept. 9 on BET.

The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Green Day, Paul McCartney, West, Brian Wilson, Sheryl Crow, Ludacris, Gretchen Wilson, Usher, Alicia Keys, John Mellencamp and Rob Thomas are set to appear on a Sept. 10 special that will air on MTV, VH1 and CMT.

"Your first instinct in a situation like this is to say, 'Is there something I can do?'" Thomas told the AP.

"New Orleans underwater, it's just insane," he said.

Feb 12, 2005
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I am glad that more celebrities are using their "star power" to help out.


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