Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder Push Climate Change During Telethon; Deniers Are ‘Blind or Unintelligent’

Tuesday night’s telethon Hand In Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief was bursting at the seams with celebrities, moving musical performances, and journalists from ABC, CBS, and NBC, so it was all the more disappointing when Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder promoted climate change as having caused Harvey and Irma.

Both lowered the bar when Stevie Wonder deemed those who don’t believe in global warming as “blind or unintelligent” while Beyoncé suggested that earthquakes like the one in Mexico were related to climate change.

Stevie Wonder led off the commercial-free, hour-long broadcast with a performance but not before he declared that “[w]e've come together today to love on the people that have been devastated by the hurricanes.”

He added how, “[w]hen love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences, and no political persuasions.”

Wonder concluded that “we should begin to love and value our planet” and asked God to “please save us all” as there are people who don’t accept this environmental position: “[A]nd anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent.”

Just past the 8:14 p.m. Eastern mark, Beyoncé appeared with a video message in support of the telethon. She began by lamenting:

During the time where it's impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country, just when you think it couldn't possibly get worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, flooded hospitals, schools, and nursing homes, and countless families are now homeless. 

She noted that Houston is her hometown, that they’re heavily in need of various necessities, and those struggling represent all types of people because “[n]atural disasters don’t discriminate.”

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“They don't see if you're an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. It doesn't matter if you're from Third Ward or River Oaks. We're all in this together. Seeing everyone of different racial, social, and religious backgrounds put their own lives at risk to help each other survive restored my faith in humanity,” Beyoncé added.

A brief news clip then aired before the Queen Bey came back to rightfully state that “[t]rue healing is in helping” and “give what you can.”

Next came the climate change reference and the argument that one consequence is earthquakes: “The effects of climate change are playing out around the world every day. Just this past week, we've seen devastation from the monsoon in India and 8.1 earthquake in Mexico, and multiple catastrophic hurricanes.”

Yikes. If you thought Beyoncé was the first liberal celebrity/journalist to say this, you’d be sadly mistaken. 

Nine years ago, Joy Behar was a co-host on ABC’s The View when she told the May 19, 2008 audience that climate change must be “look[ed] into because we seem to be having a lot of earthquakes and a lot of things going wrong.”

Speaking of Behar, Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler was on Behar’s now-cancelled HLN show on February 8, 2010 and made the same claim:

ENSLER: And I think we just kind of have to walk around the world at this point and look at what is happening to nature and earthquakes and tsunamis.

BEHAR: Right.

ENSLER: And weather changes to just feel it. But I think that idea that she doesn't believe in global warming and she could actually run for vice president, and we have a country where that is possible, it seems insane.

“Irma alone has left a trail of death and destruction from the Caribbean to Florida to southern United States. We have to be prepared for what comes next. So tonight, we come together in a collective effort to raise our voices to help our communities, to lift our spirits and heal. Thank you,” she concluded.

Other celebrities like Drake were more veiled in their political references, expressing hope that “it's truly amazing to see our generation be conscious and aware” even though there’s “so much happening in the world.” He stated that people will need to speak up and step up, but Tuesday was a day to “give.”

Scooter Braun spoke about the Hand In Hand initiative as a way to make a difference amid a world he’s been frustrated with:

Over the past years, many of have us been frustrated. We've been bombarded with images and news of hate and division. Many of us are trying to figure out how to help, what's going to be our purpose. We want to know that we can still live by the American ideal that we are our brother and sister's keeper.

Giving credit where credit is due, Robert De Niro and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart also alluded to the country’s divisions, but used that to make a broader point about who we are as a country:

ROBERT DE NIRO: There are those who say that we are a nation divided, that we are unsure of our way, that we have lost touch with the relief, the beliefs that make us strong. 

JON STEWART: But we say this tonight, we're all united, and we're sure of who we are and what matters, and that we're committed to once again help those in need, even those that we've never met. 

DE NIRO: It was on a September day like this just 16 years ago when we joined hands to help and to heal in midst of a deep crisis. We showed the world and each other the enduring values that truly define us as a people. 

STEWART: And it's only been five years since Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey and New York and across America, during that time, people had our backs. Well, now it's time we show the people of Texas and Florida that we have their backs, as well. So dig deep, and make a difference. Thank you. 

In the end, things could have been a lot worse when it came to celebrity telethons. Just ask the networks how things went when Kanye West attacked President George W. Bush in 2005 during the Katrina telethon.

Here’s the relevant transcript from the Hand In Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief telethon on September 12:

Hand In Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief
September 12, 2017
8:00 p.m. Eastern

STEVIE WONDER: We've come together today to love on the people that have been devastated by the hurricanes. When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences, and no political persuasions. It just loves. As we should begin to love and value our planet, and anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent. Lord, please save us all. 

(....)

8:14 p.m. Eastern

BEYONCÉ: During the time where it's impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country, just when you think it couldn't possibly get worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, flooded hospitals, schools, and nursing homes, and countless families are now homeless. In my hometown city of Houston, people need food, clothing, cleaning supplies, blankets, shoes, diapers, and formula for babies, and of course, clean water. The elderly need wheelchairs, and kids need books and toys so they can continue to dream. Natural disasters don't discriminate. They don't see if you're an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. It doesn't matter if you're from Third Ward or River Oaks. We're all in this together. Seeing everyone of different racial, social, and religious backgrounds put their own lives at risk to help each other survive restored my faith in humanity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE JOURNALIST: And we're continuing to see people going in with boats. Many of them are official -- acting in their official capacity. Many of them are volunteers. 

BEYONCÉ: True healing is in helping. Please give what you can. The effects of climate change are playing out around the world every day. Just this past week, we've seen devastation from the monsoon in India and 8.1 earthquake in Mexico, and multiple catastrophic hurricanes. Irma alone has left a trail of death and destruction from the Caribbean to Florida to southern United States. We have to be prepared for what comes next. So tonight, we come together in a collective effort to raise our voices to help our communities, to lift our spirits and heal. Thank you. 


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CyberAlerts Environment Global Warming Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Liberals & Democrats Entertainment Media ABC CBS NBC Video Celebrities Government & Press Beyoncé Knowles Jon Stewart Robert De Niro Donald Trump Stevie Wonder
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