Dozens of show stars, from singers Janelle Monáe and Janet Jackson to actors Hugh Jackman and Robert de Niro, today urged the young public of the macro concert Global Citizen, in New York, to contribute through their activism to a more just and sustainable world.
The festival has been held since 2012 in the framework of the UN General Assembly and this year gathered in Central Park about 60,000 people who, to get an entry, had to overcome several challenges in a mobile application, such as tweeting or sending messages to world leaders to fulfill the 2030 Agenda.
The singer Janelle Monáe inaugurated the seven hours of music with hits like “Tightrope”, which she dedicated to the victims of sexual aggression and, specifically, to the women who have denounced these days and almost 30 years ago their cases in the Congress of States United: Christine Blasey Ford, last Thursday, and Anita Hill, in 1991.
Gender equality was one of the recurring themes of today among artists, but also extreme poverty, whose eradication is one of the objectives pursued by Global Citizen, as remembered the actor Hugh Jackman, master of ceremonies.
Jackman stressed that the festival reflects a “global phenomenon, that of citizens who take a step forward to say when things are not right”, and recalled that one of them was the Nobel Peace Prize born a century ago and now deceased, Nelson Mandela.
They paid tribute to “Madiba”, calling to “follow in his footsteps” and continue with his legacy, his grandson Kweku Mandela and Martin Luther King III, son of the African-American leader.
Calls to the vote were also repeated, with different arguments: while the actor Robert de Niro added that this is how leaders are “hired and fired”, the singer Cardi B regretted having thought that a certain person “was not going to win” elections, in reference to President Donald Trump.
The rapper, one of the most anticipated on the stage, vibrated a public delivered with “hits” as “I like it” or the one that gave him fame, “Bodak Yellow”, and thousands of mobile screens that the recorded they requested that attention be given “to countries that are not receiving aid”.
After his performance, an incident forced the intervention of the authorities, as the sound of a fence falling caused some assistants to think that there were shots, according to police chief Kathleen O’Reilly. The stampede left seven people slightly injured, according to NBC, which quoted festival director Hugh Evans.
With some delay, the show continued with the help of pop star Janet Jackson, who after an intense staging at age 52, declared herself “furious” at the “double standard” that places women as “citizens of second class”.
Shawn Mendes unleashed the madness among the teenagers and invited John Legend, one of the most beloved artists of the day, to sing along with him, while The Weeknd closed the festival before an audience that remained up and lively until late at night.
The awareness messages had a strong political component and by Global Citizen ministers from Norway, Ireland and the Gambia passed; the president of the General Assembly of the UN, María Fernanda Espinosa, or the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.
Among all, they claimed the schooling of girls, the right to reproductive health and access to methods of contraception, the end of mass incarceration and the cash bond system in the US, or the reduction of the use of plastic for mitigate the pollution of the oceans.
It surprised the appearance of Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who yesterday became news by claiming, breaking the position of his party, that the FBI investigate the accusations of sexual abuse against the nominee of President Donald Trump for the US Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
Flake also claimed gender equality and, in reference to televised images in which sexual assault victims recriminated him in an elevator that would confirm Kavanaugh, joked: “Feel free to come with me to that elevator whenever you want.”