Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Lizzo, Shawn Mendes, and others sang classic songs brimmed with messages of hope and change during a TV special aimed at fighting the coronavirus, while Beyoncé and Alicia Keys spoke passionately about how the virus has disproportionately affected black Americans. Beyoncé made a surprise appearance on Saturday’s TV special “One World: Together At Home,” thanking “delivery workers, mail carriers, and sanitation employees” for their hard work during the pandemic, reports the AP. “Black Americans disproportionately belong to these essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home. This virus is killing black people at an alarmingly high rate here in America,” Beyoncé said. Gaga, who curated the all-star TV event, kicked off it off by urging people weathering the coronavirus pandemic to find a way to smile through the pain with a performance of Nat King Cole’s version of the song “Smile.”
Wonder performed “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers—who died on March 30—while playing piano. He told viewers: “During hardships like this we have to lean on each other for help.” John Legend and Sam Smith, each from their own homes, duetted on “Stand by Me”; Lizzo sang “A Change Is Gonna Come” with passion; and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, sitting together, performed “What a Wonderful World.” Paul McCartney sang the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna” and talked about the work his mother did as a nurse. The members of the Rolling Stones—from four different locations—joined forces to perform “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” And Taylor Swift sang “Soon You’ll Get Better” while playing piano. Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, Ellen DeGeneres, Pharrell Williams, Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong’o, and Henry Golding offered positive words while photos of health care workers and everyday people were shown on the screen.