Debbie Allen, Lizzo and More Celebrities Give Back During This Global Crisis
Photo Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Debbie Allen, Lizzo and More Celebrities Give Back During This Global Crisis

With schools, restaurants, and the suspension of events thanks to coronavirus, families have scrambled to maintain normalcy. Amid the global crisis, access to essentials, such as food, household items, and income has slowed or stopped altogether.

With this pandemic taxing U.S. citizens in unprecedented ways—mentally, physically, and financially—several Black celebrities have stepped up to give back to those most affected by social distancing and closures.

From athletes to actors and from funds to free entertainment, here are all the ways the biggest stars are lending a helping hand to families, kids, and companies, in need, and alleviating anxiety.

Debbie Allen teaches a free dance class on Instagram Live.

Legendary dance instructor and Emmy award-winning actress Debbie Allen is teaching a free dance class on Instagram Live. On Wednesday (March 18), let off some steam and learn hip-grooving moves to get your body moving from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy founder herself. Tune in at 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST TODAY!

Lizzo leads a calming meditation session.

Because Lizzo loves her fans, she guided a 30-minute online meditation. Filled with crystals, good energy, and the sounds of her flute, Lizzo created a much-needed space “to promote healing during this global crisis.” Zen out below.

 

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A meditation and mantra to promote healing during this global crisis. Use at your own pace. Love you!

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Zion Williamson pays Smoothie King Center staff.

Following the NBA suspension, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson was one of the first players to give back. Knowing arena workers would lose significant wages, Williamson has pledged to pay the salaries of Smoothie King Center staff.

“My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “So today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days.”

 

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The people of New Orleans have been incredibly welcoming and supportive since I was Drafted by the Pels last June, and some of the most special people I have met are those who work at smoothie King Center. These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus. My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis. This is an incredibly resilient city full of some of the most resilient people, but sometimes providing a little extra assistance can make things a little easier for the community.

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Ciara and Russell Wilson donate meals to Seattle families.

Ciara and Russell Wilson know that community is all we have during these times. As an act of great kindness, the power couple has teamed up with Seattle-based food bank Food Lifeline to donate one million meals across the city.

Ayesha and Steph Curry donate meals to Oakland students.

The Currys don’t want families to worry about where their next meal is coming from. As a result, their Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation has committed to donating meals to the Oakland Unified School District. In support of Feeding America through the Alameda County Community Food Bank, the Golden State Warriors star and his wife are using their resources for good while urging others to donate as well.

Blake Griffin compensates Little Ceasars Arena workers.

Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin is inspired by the acts of his fellow ballplayers. This week, Griffin pledged $100,000 to the Detroit Pistons organization to “ensure those that work our games every night don’t go without during these times,” he wrote.

 

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John Legend plays virtual mini-concert on Instagram Live.

Who doesn’t need a nice music moment to help curb anxiety?

In partnership with the World Health Organization and Global Citizen, on Tuesday (March 17), John Legend gave Instagram users an online performance to help quell coronavirus-induced anxiety. Singing his hits and popular show tunes, Legend provided a brief escape from the crazy news cycle. Adorable cameos were made by his family, Chrissy and Luna included.

The live-streamed show is the second act (Coldplay was first!) in a series titled “Together At Home.” Miguel is rumored to perform at a later date.

Jesse Williams and Scholly launch a student relief fund.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams announced the Scholly COVID-19 Student Relief Fund. The fund gives $200 to “students and families to help purchase essential supplies, groceries, make payments, etc during this crisis.” Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and are subject to approval. Applicants who are approved can only receive a one-time payment.

“Students and parents are the backbone of our company,” Williams, who is a Scholly board member, wrote on Instagram. “Stepping in to help during these unprecedented times was a no brainer for us!”

Rihanna donates $5 million to coronavirus relief.

On Saturday (Mar. 21), Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation announced a $5 million relief fund against the coronavirus pandemic. According to an Instagram post, the money will be distributed in grants to Direct Relief, Feeding America, Partners in Health, The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the International Rescue Committee. Rihanna also gave money to her home country of Barbados. The aim is “to prepare communities w/ critical protective gear, medical supplies, equipment, and access to food across multiple countries and regions.”

Editorial Note: This piece has been updated since it was initially published to reflect celebrities’ latest forms of outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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