NEW YORK — Today, BET announces an array of high impact initiatives to support communities of color impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Black Americans are being disproportionately harmed by the health and financial devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. BET, in partnership with the NAACP, United Way Worldwide, leaders in the African American creative, civil rights and business communities will provide critical financial, educational and community support directly to the African Americans hardest hit by this crisis.
These initiatives include the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special; the creation of a relief fund in partnership with United Way Worldwide to assist people of color most impacted by this health and financial crisis, and our support of the NAACP’s Town Hall Series.
For 40 years, BET has been rooted in a legacy of helping afflicted communities of color, raising $12 million for Katrina victims and millions more for Haiti earthquake victims. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BET will use their global platform to provide critical educational and financial resources directly related to the African American community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is savagely compounding the profound health and financial vulnerabilities many Black Americans face. Every day, there are new reports of how this pandemic is killing African Americans at much higher rates than other communities,” said Scott Mills, President of BET. “BET is using all of our resources – our capital, our media platforms, our relationships with the creative community, sponsors, businesses and charitable organizations to support our community in this time of crisis.”
The “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special, will air on Wednesday, April 22nd at 8 pm EDT. The special, co-hosted by Grammy Award- Winning singer and actress Kelly Rowland, TV personality Terrence J, and actress Regina Hall; will feature virtual appearances and musical performances from some of the biggest names in music and entertainment as they share tips on how to manage, cope and help during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Celebrity guest appearances and performances will include DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson, Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, Fantasia, Melvin Crispell III, and many more. The special will give up-to- date information and drive viewers to needed resources during this unprecedented time. In partnership with United Way, proceeds are being donated to African American communities severely impacted by COVID-19.
“Our goal for this special is to come together in a collective spirit of strength, community and hope. As we unite in harmony and compassion, through the collective healing power of music, comedy and entertainment, we can bring restoration and inspire the world that our brighter days are ahead,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET.
Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET will serve as Executive Producer for the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment.
To support these initiatives, BET has established a COVID-19 relief fund in partnership with United Way Worldwide to support African Americans that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way, the largest private funder of human services in the U.S., has a presence in 95% of communities across the country, and has, for more than 130 years, mobilized the caring power of the community to advance the common good. United Way is unparalleled in its power to convene local partners, providers and resources to address the needs of vulnerable communities on the ground.
Financial donations from the joint fund will allow United Way to disburse resources to local organizations under United Ways in New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit and Chicago, regions that have been most impacted by this crisis. There are long-term plans to expand these resources to other markets going forward. In particular, United Way will be supporting families in crisis who are experiencing food insecurity and are in need of emergency assistance.
“United Way is deeply embedded in communities across our country, and our ‘local- ness’ means we know the needs on the ground and how to get the right kind of help to those who need it most,” said Stan Little, Chief Experience Officer of United Way. “We look forward to partnering with BET to bring much-needed relief and long-term recovery to already vulnerable communities that are being hit especially hard because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
BET is also providing resources and content on COVID-19 across multiple digital platforms including a four-part virtual town hall series in partnership with the NAACP. On Wednesday, April 8, at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT, “Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Powered by NAACP & BET” will stream on NAACP.org and focus on how the pandemic is affecting African Americans and what steps the community can take to build an action plan for positive change. The first town hall will focus on the health, emotional, economic toll, congressional response and how activists can apply pressure to ensure legislation is equitable. Additionally, BET.com is reporting daily on what the African American community needs to know about COVID-19, and how it is impacting our lives.
You can donate to the fund beginning Friday, April 10th. More information on BET’s partnership with UWW and additional extensions of our relief efforts are forthcoming. For further details, please visit BET.com.