MIAMI — Almost a month after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, celebrities around the world are determined to use their influence and talent to help in any way possible.
This became evident on Friday, Feb. 5, when three major power houses of hip hop – Queen Latifah, Diddy and Pharell Williams – hosted BET's star studded live telethon titled “SOS Saving Ourselves-Help For Haiti.” The event raised money for Haiti relief efforts.
The event took place at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, and aired live on BET, MTV and VH1, and was also simulcast in Haiti.
The stars aligned in a moment of selflessness and heartfelt humanity as mega artists such as Chris Brown, R & B songstress Monica, Neo-Soul princess India Arie and Queen of R&B Mary J. Blige sang their hearts out.
The entire arena was filled to capacity, with fans seeking a good glimpse of their favorite recording artists.
The stage was set up with a 3-D replica of the Haitian flag, two screens of rotating images of people suffering in Haiti, and a full band set up and ready to support all the celebrities who were preparing to take the stage.
Celebrities traveled far and wide to be at the event, including new rap artist Drake, Justin Bieber, Trey Songz, Ludacris, Robin Thicke, Damian Marley, Nas, Akon, Pitbull, Kirk Franklin, Common, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union and Busta Rhymes.
All of them were backstage answering the incoming phone calls at one point during the night.
The effulgence of each performer brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience.
There were many touching acts throughout the night, and some stood out more than others.
With all the controversy surrounding him over the admitted beating of ex-girlfriend Rihanna, Chris Brown really stepped out of his element and put on an amazing performance of his current hit single, "Crawl." The single is from his Graffiti album, showcasing the lyrics, "If we crawl till we can walk again/ Then we'll run until we're strong enough to jump? then we'll fly until there is no end/ so let's crawl."
The lyrics seemed overwhelmingly appropriate for the night's theme.
Although Chris Brown got almost all the ladies and some men in the arena out of their seats, the electric performance by Wyclef Jean and a stage full of Haitian music artists such as South Florida's own Black Dada and Mecca Grimo took the night.
Wyclef not only asked everyone to grab something – anything – and wave, he also jumped off the front of the stage and proceeded to run through the middle of the crowd. It felt like Carnival time all over again.
The night reached its zenith when former President Bill Clinton walked onto the stage. The crowd went wild. It took about five minutes before the crowd's screams and applause subsided so he could speak. As if he was giving a State of the Union address, he had one important message:
"We've still got a lot to do to get the people of Haiti back so they don't have to worry about day-to-day," Clinton said. "Those people deserve our help. They can have a better future and you can give it to them."
A man could be heard in the distance shouting, "….best President ever!"
The night ended with all the artists, including Gloria Estefan, Rickey Smiley, and Sean Kingston, returning onstage to sing their own rendition of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me."
All funds raised at the telethon will be donated to several organizations, including Yele Haiti, C.A.R.E., The Clinton Foundation, Project Media Share and more.
By press deadline, the final amount of the funds raised was not available.
Photo by Sayre Berman. Queen Latifah