Celebrities, leaders and notable figures from around the world came together Saturday night to talk about unity in the face of a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
It was a star-studded night of entertainment, activism and information as world leaders, celebrities, musicians and stars from around the world came together for Global Citizen's concert event "Global Goal: Unite for Our Future."
With the twin campaigns of the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and equal justice and rights as amplified by the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, it was a powerful call for unity at a time when the United States, at least, is anything but unified.
The event was punctuated with performances from global superstars including J Balvin, Miley Cyrus, Usher, Shakira, Chloe x Halle, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Christine and the Queens and even the original Broadway cast of "Hamilton."
Several of the performances were presented in a way reflective of the strange new world we live in, such as Cyrus taking on The Beatles' "Help!" from the center of a vacant Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
"Dedicated to those who are tirelessly working on testing, treatment and vaccines so all of us can come together in places like this empty stadium again," a text statement read on-screen before she began performing on a massive stage built to spell out the title of the song.
Hudson celebrated her own Chicago, looking barren itself, as she performed Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Where Peaceful Waters Flow" from atop a boat on the Chicago river. It was both breathtaking and eerily haunting as we see these images known for throngs of humanity just sitting empty.
Usher's performance of "I Cry" slowly panned out to recreate a common visual refrain from the Black Lives Matter protests, with people lying face down, hands behind their backs, much as George Floyd was lying on the ground as a Minneapolis police officer crushed the life out of him for nearly nine minutes with his knee on his neck.
Before Shakira's performance of "Sale el Sol," she spoke out about how the pandemic is now hitting Latin America harder than any other region in the world, with experts predicting Africa is next.
"We need to make sure that everyone has security and access to healthcare in these places or it will make distributing a vaccine that much harder," she said. "Thousands of lives could be endangered by the virus itself and other life-threatening effects of poverty such as hunger."
"We can all do something about it and that's why we're here today," she continued. "As we walk the road to recovery, let's help the most vulnerable regions in the world walk towards theirs because the sun should come out for everyone."
Elsewhere in the broadcast, Justin Bieber & Quavo broke down their hit "Intentions" with a piano-driven acoustic take, while J Balvin and Coldplay brought some technicolor madness to the proceedings. And Jimmy Fallon and The Roots took their "classroom instruments" format to the original Broadway cast of "Hamilton" for a powerful rendition of "Helpless."
You can check out all those performances and more below: