BET sponsored a two-hour broadcast special and fundraiser to help support communities of color during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on April 22.
In partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and United Way Worldwide, the Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort broadcast shed a light on how the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately impacting people of color in the United States.
Co-hosted by TV personality Terrence J, actress and singer Kelly Rowland, and actress Regina Hall, the special featured a wide range of musicians and celebrity guests, including Lizzo, H.E.R., Usher, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Jhene Aiko, Ludacris, Kirk Franklin, and Charlie Wilson.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is savagely compounding the profound health and financial vulnerabilities many Black Americans face," BET president Scott Mills said in a press release. "Every day, there are new reports of how this pandemic is killing African Americans at much higher rates than other communities."
Mills also noted that BET is compiling all of its resources to help amplify their relief fund and support those most severely affected by the pandemic.
.@aliciakeys captures the beauty of New York with help from friends like @iamqueenlatifah, @fatjoe, @diddy & more with her performance of Empire State of Mind #BETCovidReliefpic.twitter.com/tPFikqhJE0— BET (@BET) April 23, 2020
African Americans are dying from COVID-19 at an alarmingly disproportionate rate.
Black people make up 32% of the population in Louisiana, but account for 70% of those who have died from coronavirus in the state, for instance. This disparity is also similar in Michigan, Illinois and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
P&G, the broadcast event’s lead sponsor and a Global Citizen partner, issued a statement of support, pledging $1 million in short-term relief funding and an additional $1 million in P&G products.
P&G is also providing over 2 million face masks and other protective supplies to communities of color in Chicago, Detroit, Flint, New Orleans, and New York.
"Our commitment goes beyond a single night or a single fundraising effort," P&G said in a press release. "We are partnering with a variety of organizations to better understand how we can play a role in long-term solutions that tackle the underlying racial bias and inequalities — continuing our efforts to be a force for good and a force for growth. A virus doesn’t discriminate, but circumstances in our community do."