A-list celebrities came out in droves on Monday night to take part in the Hand in Hand hurricane relief benefit, which raised more than $44 million for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
During the telethon, Stephen Colbert announced that Apple was donating $5 million and Jimmy Fallon added that Albertsons Cos. and Merck each gave $1 million.
NBA star Chris Paul also said that the NBA Players Association, which donated $500,000, would match any professional basketball player's donation up to $20,000.
Throughout the hour-long benefit, which was broadcast on four networks, including ABC, celebrities stressed the importance of unity. However, the current politic climate was referenced at several points. In video addresses, Drake admitted that that news cycle recently has been "extremely overwhelming," while Beyonce noted that, "it's impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country."
Beyonce, a Houston native, also touched on climate change, pointing out other natural disasters that have taken place around the world in the past few weeks, including flooding in India and an earthquake in Mexico. Wonder also discussed the issue, and had harsh words for climate change deniers.
The telethon was also punctuated by stars including Kerry Washington, Sean "Diddy" Combs; Oprah Winfrey and Cher; and Justin Timberlake telling stories of those who were directly impacted by the hurricanes, as well as performances in locations around the country. In Nashville, Usher and Blake Shelton sang "Stand By Me," while George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett sang "Texas" and "I Believe" from San Antonio. Other performances included Luis Fonsi and Tori Kelly singing "Hallelujah," Brad Paisley, Demi Lovato, Darius Rucker, Cece Winans performing "With a Little Help from My Friends," and Dave Matthews singing "Mercy."