Coming together for ‘Together at Home’

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Concerts and star-studded events like awards shows have been put on hold like any other public gathering, but artists are still working hard to provide some entertainment and lightness for the masses. Many musicians have been connecting with their audience through Instagram Live sessions, sometimes with fellow musicians virtually joining from the safety of their own homes. These “home concerts” provide a seemingly more personal and intimate setting with lower video quality, dubious angles and casual clothing compared to a typical recorded live session. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Global Citizen took that same idea and ran with it, all for a good cause. This past Saturday, the organizations presented “One World: Together at Home” on CBS, NBC and ABC, co-hosted by the networks’ three late-night heavyweights: Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert. 

With appearances by artists like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Lizzo and words of support by high-profile names, “One World” raised almost $128 million for healthcare workers and coronavirus relief. Of that total, $55.1 million will go toward the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, launched by the WHO last month “to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information,” as well as “to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them,” according to the fund’s website. The other $72.8 million will benefit local and regional responders. 

Although some celebrity shows of support, such as the viral sing-along to “Imagine,” have been cringeworthy at best and ignorant of their privilege at worst, this particular event managed to overcome that through humble performances and features from stars trying their best to provide in ways they can. Yes, some of the staged moments were a bit corny, but it’s always hard to translate an earnest and genuine persona through television. The hosts’ prompt at the beginning of the two-hour special for ordinary viewers to “put away their wallets” was refreshing to say the least, as Global Citizen said the noted monetary contributions were made by corporations and philanthropists, and instead urged citizens to consider other ways to support those in their communities.

“I care so much about all of the medical workers that are putting their lives at risk for us right now,” Lady Gaga, credited as the special’s curator by the Washington Post, said.

 The pop star kicked off the show with Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” and returned to close out the show with Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, John Legend and Lang Lang to sing “The Prayer.” 


Lady Gaga hosting the Together at Home concert.  Image via    Global Citizen

Lady Gaga hosting the Together at Home concert. Image via Global Citizen

 “I think of them every day, I pray for them every day. And I’m also thinking about all of you that are home who are wondering when this is going to be different,” Gaga said later.

Other notable performances included Taylor Swift’s emotional rendition of “Soon You’ll Get Better” (written about her mother’s battle with cancer) off of her latest album, powerhouses John Legend and Sam Smith’s duet of “Stand By Me” and Kacey Musgraves’ fan favorite “Rainbow.” It was entertaining to see into celebrities’ homes and music set-ups, from Elton John’s grand piano in the driveway with his son playing basketball in the background to Fallon’s laughably low, yellow lighting. Other celebrities, like Beyonce Knowles, Michelle Obama and Melinda and Bill Gates dropped in to share words of support and information, such as Knowles bringing attention to the fact that a disproportionate number of black Americans have been suffering from the outbreak. The show, in all its stripped-down but still star-studded glory, reminded people that there are ways to support others and pursue their interests in adjusted ways, and at the very least, offered some entertainment.

Thumbnail Image via Global Citizen

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Hollie Lao is a staff writer and the social media manager for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hollianne.lao@uconn.edu.

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