NEW YORK (AP) — Metallica, Mariah Carey and The Jonas Brothers will headline a free concert in New York’s Central Park next month marking the 10th anniversary of the Global Citizen Festival organized by the international nonprofit fighting extreme poverty.
The Sept. 24 event will also feature a concert across the globe in Accra, Ghana, with Usher, SZA and H.E.R.
But the day will be less a celebration and more of a call to action to immediately address numerous international crises, Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans said.
“We are actually at one critical inflection point where COVID has pushed nearly 100 million people into extreme poverty and now Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made the situation so much worse,” he said. “As many as 323 million people are now facing acute hunger. And if we don’t take urgent action now, as many as 200 million more people are likely to be plunged into extreme poverty by November, bringing the total number of people living in extreme poverty to over a billion people again.”
International organizations count people living on the equivalent of $1.90 a day as living in extreme poverty.
“Quantico” star Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who will host the Central Park event, said Global Citizen has always encouraged people to use their voices to convince world leaders and decision-makers to take action against hunger and poverty. However, the need to focus on those issues is now even more pressing.
“If we are going to do something about that, then we need urgent mobilization,” Chopra Jonas told The Associated Press. “So just seeing all of these people from different stretches of society, different professions — regular folks coming together, motivated to actually make change now in an urgent way — is just so inspiring.”
As with all Global Citizen events, tickets to the concerts are free. However, to get the tickets, people must join Global Citizen and take action on a series of the campaign’s issues.
Pop star Charlie Puth, Latin sensation Rosalia, country star Mickey Guyton and Italian rockers Maneskin are also on the Central Park bill, while rapper Stormzy, Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems and Ghanian stars Gyakie, Sarkodie and Stonebwoy will also perform in Accra. Both concerts will be broadcast and streamed on ABC, ABC News Live, FX, Hulu, iHeartRadio, Twitter, YouTube, and other outlets. ABC will broadcast a primetime special, “Global Citizen Festival: Take Action NOW,” from the shows on Sept. 25.
Global Citizen says it hopes to use the platform provided by the concerts to encourage fans to ask for specific changes from government, business and philanthropy leaders. Evans wants to convince Scandinavian countries, as well as Ireland, Portugal, and others, to transfer their Special Drawing Rights in the International Monetary Fund, which provide access to about $100 billion in affordable financing, to low-income countries, especially in Africa, to lower their debt repayments.
In addition to asking the United States to donate more toward fighting climate change, he also wants about $500 million in donations and grants for farmers in Africa so they can grow more crops, rather than depending on wheat and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia, which have both in short supply due to the war.
“We also need to address the reality that supporting women and girls around the world and their talents are the closest we have to a silver bullet for the eradication of poverty,” Evans said. “We’re calling on the wealthiest nations to provide $600 million dollars in critical investments into education, sexual and reproductive health and economic empowerment for them.”
Global Citizen’s formula for using social media and its followers’ interest to convince corporations and foundations to donate has worked. Since its first Global Citizen Festival in 2012, the advocacy organization estimates that it has helped direct $41.4 billion to its causes and improved the lives of more than 1.15 billion people.
“These are urgent issues,” Evans said. “That’s why our campaigns focus on ending extreme poverty now — not next year, not the year after, but right now. We have to address the issues that matter most, whether it’s gender equality, climate change, or the structural issues that keep people poor.”