It’s barely been a week since Hurricane Harvey subsided and America’s 4th largest city, Houston, is still reeling from one of the biggest catastrophes in the world. With neighbourhoods flooded, buildings destroyed and people displaced, celebrities are pledging millions of dollars to help the city get back on its feet.
Celebrities in America came out in droves to rally their fans and social media followers to donate to the Houston cause. Here is how some of them responded to the call for help:
On August 28, comedian Kevin Hart challenged fellow celebrities to pledge Sh2.5M ($25,000) or more in relief for the Houston flood victims. A week later, here is how they have responded.
Oscar award winner, Leonardo DiCaprio announced through the New Daily Mail that he would be donating Sh103.2M ($1,000,000) via the Leonardo DiCaprio Fund.
Fellow Oscar winner, Sandra Bullock, later announced that she would be donating the same amount to the Red Cross.
The Kardashian family (Kim, Chloe, Kourtney and Kris Jenner) all pledged to donate $500,000 (Sh51.6M). Announcing through twitter, Kim Kardashian West said:
Houston born and raised Beyoncé Knowles, also pledged a Sh2.58M ($25,000) and announced the launch of a fund that would help raise more funds for the victims. Dubbed ‘BeyGood,’ the new foundation will be a merge-up of the Greater Houston Community fund and Bread of Life.
JUSTIN BIEBER SENDS HEART-WARMING LOVE MESSAGE
Other celebrities who accepted Kevin Hart’s challenge include actor @Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, singer superstar Justin Bieber and Oprah Winfrey.
Through his social media account, Justin Bieber posted a heart-warming video saying in part:
“…I just want to say that I am so sorry to all the families that have lost their homes, people that have lost their lives," Bieber said. "I'm going to accept the Kevin Hart challenge and donate $25,000 towards the Red Cross, and I love you guys in Houston….”
Legendary TV show director and actor, Tyler Perry demonstrated his generosity by donating Sh103.2M ($1,000,000). Perry, however, announced that he would be splitting his donations to go to Beyoncé’s foundations, Joel Osteen’s Mega Church Foundation and Lakewood church.
Still in Hollywood, famous reality show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Wendy Williams of the Wendy Williams Show pledged their donations too. Through a video posted on her Instagram account, Ellen pledged donations worth Sh7.7M ($75,000) and pitched her fans to donate whatever they could.
“Because of Hurricane Harvey, a lot of people in Texas have lost their homes. The city of Texas has been hit the most. I know people want to help. I would like to help. So, I’m donating $25,000 to the Red Cross. The show is donating $25,000 and another $25,000 to the SPCA of Texas. You can help too.” Ellen said.
@Wendy Williams announced through a YouTube video, that she had accepted Kevin Hart’s challenge to donate $25,000. Wendy said through the video that she felt challenged by the “King’s ransom” donated by singer Chris Brown (The singer donated $100,000 around Sh10.3M) and that her heart was in Houston though she was physically in Atlanta.
"I'm in Atlanta, but my heart is in Houston," Wendy said. “…me and my family donated, Chris Brown gave a king's ransom…” she added.
Hip Hop responded to Kevin Hart’s challenge generously as well. Nicki Minaj, T.I, and DJ Khaled all pledged at least $25,000 to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Other singers and Hollywood celebrities who pledged their donation include singer Miley Cyrus who pledged Sh51.6M ($500,000) via the Ellen DeGeneres show.
SPORTSMEN TO THE RESCUE
Away from Hollywood, American footballer JJ Watts of the Houston Texans launched a fund that has so far raised more than Sh1.85B ($18,000,000) worth of donations. Through his twitter account, the defensive end footballer thanked his fans for helping him reach $18.5 million dollars.
“We just passed $18.5 MILLION. Your generosity knows no bounds. Thank you.” @JJwatt.
Professional basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets pledged $150,000. Hakeem also sent a consolation message to the Hurricane Harvey victims in a Facebook message,
“"I am heartbroken to see the devastation and loss caused by Hurricane Harvey. The people of Houston are in my thoughts and prayers, as they work to rebuild their lives and communities. There is so much to be done, and I hope that my contribution can help make a difference in the lives of my fellow Houstonians."
Apart from money, celebrities from all walks of life sent their consolation messages on social media to comfort those affected by the deadly hurricane. Country musician, Miranda Lambart also went an extra mile to hire a team that helped rescue dogs, cats and other pets stranded in the floods.
The biggest donation, however, came from Texas business man, Michael Dell. The Dell Technologies founder pledged a staggering $36,000,000 (an equivalent of KES 3.6 billion).
Although the amounts donated by celebrities may not be enough to completely rebuild the effects of the hurricane, the famed stars showed that their ability to put their money where it’s needed the most is one reason they deserve their success.
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