Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Omarion, Common and Juvenile are joining the BET telethon for Hurricane Katrina relief, spearheaded by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, airing Friday, September 9th at 7:30 p.m. The artists join a lineup that includes Wynton Marsalis, David Banner and New Orleans native Master P.
In addition to their BET appearance, Diddy and Jay-Z have pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross in effort to aid the ravaged Gulf Coast. Similarly, teen singer/actress Hilary Duff will donate $250,000 for victim relief, with $200,000 going to the Red Cross and $50,000 to USA Harvest. Duff is also encouraging fans to bring canned goods to her concerts for donation.
In other benefit news, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Craig Morgan and Billy Currington will perform for Country Reaches Out: An Opry Benefit for the American Red Cross, to be aired live on September 27th from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry on the Great American Country network. All money raised, including profits from ticket sales, will be donated to the Red Cross. More performers are expected to be announced in the coming days.
As previously reported, Dave Matthews Band, Usher, Green Day, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, John Mellencamp, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, Rob Thomas, David Banner and Gretchen Wilson are among the artists performing for a Hurricane Katrina relief concert which will be staged simultaneously on September 10th, in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Atlanta. The show will air live on MTV, VH1 and CMT, with opportunities for viewers to phone in Red Cross donations.
DMB have also added a fourth, September 12th show to their upcoming string of dates at Colorado's famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre to serve as a benefit for hurricane relief charities.
Even with the widespread support from a myriad of genre-crossing musicians, many artists with ties to the hurricane-affected area are anticipating more fundraisers to come. "I'm never gonna make another dime," Soul Asylum vocalist/guitarist Dave Pirner, a longtime New Orleans resident, says. "I'm sure we'll be playing benefits for the next three years now."
According to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, thousands are feared dead, and residents who failed to evacuate the flooded, below-sea-level city have no drinkable water, no electricity and are combating widespread looting. President George W. Bush has called the storm one of the worst natural disasters in history, saying that the recovery effort could take years.
Donations are currently being accepted at the Red Cross Web site, redcross.org, and hotline, 1-800-HELP-NOW. Habitat For Humanity and Salvation Army are also accepting funds, at habitat.org and salvationarmyusa.org, respectively.