While the world is suspended in a state of uncertainty, there is one thing that we can be sure of: this pandemic does not affect everybody equally.
While those who were already struggling to make ends meet find these ends getting further and further apart, we look to those who can spare the money to help bridge that gap and give back to the community that raised them up. Musicians, from the poorest approaching bankruptcy, to the ones who can lightly part with six-figure sums, have been doing their part in more ways than one.
Whether that’s using their influence to call on world leaders and secure enormous donations from the globe’s biggest corporations; helping out with the food shop; or taking some time out to give fans online lessons, these are only a handful of artists making a difference.
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Choosing to put her 2020 album 'Chromatica' on the back burner, Lady Gaga has instead decided to put her all into joining the ranks in the fight against Coronavirus. Her dedication to the cause is tireless, having already raised $35m along with the group Global Citizen to buy protective equipment for health workers, as well as supporting efforts to develop a vaccine against the virus.
Her beauty brand HAUS also pledged to donate 20% of profits to support food banks. Putting her sway as one of the most influential figures in the world to good use, she has also secured a “sizeable” donation from Apple on a televised call with CEO Tim Cook.
These efforts are all a part of Global Citizen’s One World: Together At Home campaign. Gaga has co-curated the line-up of the broadcast celebrating frontline health workers, enlisting the help of Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish and Lizzo, with many more expected to make an appearance.
“I want to highlight this global, kind community that’s coming together right now,” Gaga said to Jimmy Fallon. “It’s this valiant effort that we’re all witnessing in the medical community... take a second to marvel at the bravery.”
Lady Gaga has made clear that One World was not a fundraiser, and would focus on entertainment and messages of solidarity. “The good news is that this show is not going to be a fundraiser — we have raised the money ahead of time and we're going to continue fundraising before the show,” Gaga told the Late Show. “So when you guys introduce the whole special, you can tell everyone to put your wallets away, put your money away because we don't need it — we raised the money already!”
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Guess who has become the unlikeliest voice of reason in this crisis? That’s right: “It’s Britney, bitch.”
When most celebrities of her stature would balk at the idea of committing to politics, Britney is going all the way by re-posting a Marxist-leaning manifesto on Instagram.
Written by Mimi Zhu, a socialist Chinese-Australian artist, the post called for the redistribution of wealth and encouraged striking. The singer captioned it with “Communion goes beyond walls” with three red roses, emblematic of Communist-red.
Now, fans call her Comrade Britney.
If that wasn’t enough to lift our spirits, oops, she did it again. Spears announced in an Instagram video that she’d pick three fans whom she’d help buy essential items as communities faced financial difficulties, shortages and isolation.
"Our world is going through such hard times right now," Spears said in the video. "Whether it's with food or I'm getting your child diapers or whatever it is, DM me and I will help you out."
With her career and finances being under the lock and key of a conservatorship since 2008, influencing the #FreeBritney movement, no one knows the meaning of “quarantine” quite like her – in fact, in the eyes of many, her life has been a quarantine ever since.
Her Instagram account is an uncensored look into her world – a rare glimpse of her down-to-earth, cringey self, with dance videos, TBTs - and now - meme-style posts promoting social distancing. Fans have crowned her the “queen of quarantine” as an unexpected voice of inspiration, generosity and humour when we need it most.
Lifting each other up and being positive is also very important to keep higher frequencies going in the body to help us clear our energy. The power of your thoughts are also very crucial !!!!! Make sure you’re sending good vibes out there no matter what …. God will do the rest.
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Ireland’s not-so-secret weapon in the face of the unseen enemy is, of course, Bono. The U2 singer has lobbied corporate superstructures such as Apple and Walmart and Tencent, as well as South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, to find the much-needed medical equipment and diagnostic kits for Ireland’s health service. U2 themselves have also promised €10m to support Irish healthcare workers fighting Covid-19 on the frontline.
On St Patrick’s Day, Bono performed his first new music since 2017 with a song inspired by quarantined Italians singing to each other from their balconies. He sings:
“Sing as an act of resistance / Sing though your heart is overthrown / When you sing there is no distance / So let your love be known, oh let your love be known.”
He posted “Let Your Love Be Known, to his Instagram account and dedicated it to health workers and anyone who was “in a tight spot and still singing”.
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It can be easy to blur the lines between philanthropy and a calculated publicity stunt, but the last person to be accused of this is Taylor Swift.
Like the tooth fairy, she leaves donations secretly under the pillows of deserving causes and people, turning losses into gains. Several coming forward online to say they have received private messages and funds from Swift after she spotted posts about their struggles on social media.
Taylor has also donated to Feeding America and the World Health Organisation, supporting frontline health workers as well as the general population who have been hit hardest by uncertain times.
The singer-songwriter has also remembered one of the neglected casualties of the pandemic: the creative, freelance community. Grimey’s record store in her home city of Nashville revealed that she had paid for three months of the staff’s health insurance plan, and had made undisclosed cash donations.
Further still, Swift sent $3,000 to freelance music photographer Holly Turner after expressing her struggles of mounting bills and financial uncertainty. The message Swift sent to her read:
"Holly, you have always been there for me. I want to be there for you right now. I hope this helps. Love, Taylor."
Taylor Swift has reportedly helping the Nashville record store "Grimey's" amid the coronavirus pandemic by supplying it with money for each employee and three months' worth of health care. pic.twitter.com/y9AEZP2TRn— Taylor Swift Facts (@blessedswifty) April 1, 2020
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The Big Moon
It’s important to stress, however, that it takes far more than money to raise us up. Generosity isn’t just exclusive to money. The Big Moon’s Jules Jackson embodies the attitude of giving what you can, offering online guitar lessons for fans to save their sanity – as much as her own.
Applying via Instagram, fans need only pay £20 for tutorials, “keeping the band and crew alive for the foreseeable future.” Sharing a photo of herself holding a guitar upside down, Jackson wrote on the band’s Instagram account: “BIG MOON SCHOOL OF ROCK i can play guitar, let me teach you. I can teach u any songs u like, but I know big moon songs better than anyone else on earth. Beginners extremely welcome.”
Guitar lessons are going so great!! Well done everyone. Lots of people were also asking for tabs and we have now got around to being productive about this! If you're still interested, please dm us with your e-mail address, the songs you want tabbed, and the instrument you want them on and we will e-mail them out to you along with details to our paypal account. You can then donate whatever you feel/are able and all proceeds will go to @trusselltrust food bank charity. Starting with bass tabs and piano scores to begin with and guitar tabs will follow a little later. This is a pic of how Jules shows us new songs. Love you guys! Hope you’re holding up ok xxx @ichorrocks
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Words: Sophie Walker
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