Appearing at St. John’s Church in Houston, Beyoncé joined her mother, Tina Knowles, and pastor Rudy Rasmus in a stirring ceremony intended to encourage Houstonians.
“I just wanna say that I’m home. This church is my home,” Beyoncé said.
“I was maybe 9 or 10 years old the first time I sat there where my daughter is sitting. I sang my first solo here, and I just wanna thank you for lifting my family up, for praying for me, and for being such an incredible example of what light and love is.”
“This, today, is a celebration of survival. Y’all are my family. Houston is my home. I thank God that you’re safe, that your children are safe. I think that what really matters is your health and your children and your family. I just wanna say I love you. I’ve been blessed so that I can bless other people and I ask of God to continue to do that for other people.”
Beyoncé certainly wasn’t the only celebrity to step up in the aftermath of Harvey and Irma.
Jamie Foxx expressed his love and support for his home state in an Instagram video.
“Just want to let everyone in Texas know that we got you,” the entertainer said. “From a fellow Texan, my heart goes out. My prayers go out.”
He accompanied the post with a $25,000 donation to the Global Giving Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Later, Foxx expressed support for the J.J. Watt Foundation; the NFL defensive end’s charity raised an incredible $37 million for Harvey relief efforts.
“Every dollar [will be] put to work for the people in the devastated areas in and around Houston,” Watt said in a statement.
In the weeks following Harvey’s landfall, other donations poured into the J.J. Watt Foundation, courtesy of businessmen, actors, and entertainers. Jimmy Fallon announced a $1 million donation on The Tonight Show before giving his stage to a Houston choir, who performed a rousing version of “Lean On Me.”
But as celebrities stepped up in Houston, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and the Caribbean.
On Sept. 12, major television networks broadcast a quickly organized benefit concert called, “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief,” featuring appearances from dozens of stars including Reese Witherspoon, Justin Timberlake, Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyoncé, and Selena Gomez.
“Neighbor helping neighbor, without stopping to think about race, religion, or anything else,” Gomez said in one of the promos for the benefit. “We are going to get through all the storms that confront us. That’s how we are going to do it together—hand in hand.”
Actor Kristen Bell, stuck in Florida during Irma’s landfall, made the best of a bad situation by visiting a local shelter and performing songs from Frozen. The star of The Good Place also met with evacuees, and appeared to enjoy the experience, tagging one Instagram photo with the tongue-in-cheek #besthurricaneever hashtag.
Thousands of other people made donations to hurricane relief, and we’re certainly not downplaying those efforts. When celebrities become active in these types of movements, however, it can have a motivating effect, helping to raise awareness and drive donations.