Across the board, celebrities are trying to do what they can with their platforms to help those who have been affected by the devastation brought on by COVID-19. Actress Octavia Spencer donated respirators to hospitals in her home state of Alabama and the epicenter of the illness, New York, while Rihanna has donated over $5 million to support several organizations through her Clara Lionel Foundation, such as food banks in at-risk communities.
Others are focusing on bringing relief to local businesses, which have been hit particularly hard due to a lack of in-person service. Grammy-nominated musician, actress and humanitarian Janelle Monae is teaming up with Verizon to perform for their Pay It Forward Live series, which will benefit small businesses. The event will be held Thursday evening (April 30) at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and can be viewed on Verizon’s Twitter page.
“Our local coffee shops, markets, book stores, nail salons and restaurants are the souls of our communities,” the Dirty Computer artist wrote on her Instagram page. “We need to make sure we are surrounding all small businesses—especially black and LGBTQ owned—with support and love so that they can open their doors again one day soon.”
Monae is working around the clock to make sure her people are good. On Sunday, April 26, she and her Wondaland Records label donated nearly 2,000 to families in need in Atlanta through the #WondaLunch campaign. They partnered with the hunger-related non-profit Project Isaiah, airline catering company Gate Gourmet, community advancement group The Gathering Spot, Councilman Andre Dickens, and local radio station Hot 107.9 to make the event a success.
“We wanted our first action taken as a collective to be in Atlanta where our roots are,” Monae said in a statement about #WondaLunch. “Hundreds of families were moved and positively impacted on Sunday. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and helped make this happen!”
Monae is not the only one working to alleviate some of the stress from small business owners’ shoulders. Rumored couple Common and Tiffany Haddish partnered with Bumble to donate $50,000 in grants to businesses in the food industry across America through the dating app’s Community Grants Program. The rapper told The Root that working with Bumble for something so important generated “positive energy.”