Hurricane Sandy tore through the East Coast almost two weeks ago, but recovery efforts continue as Tri-State area residents still face gas shortages, persistent power outages, and displacement. Now that the worst has passed for New York’s entertainment industry, many musicians have contributed to storm relief efforts through benefit shows, charity campaigns, and direct donations to the American Red Cross.
In a generous display of hometown pride, New York City native Lady Gaga pledged $1 million to the Red Cross on November 7. “If it wasn’t for NYC: the Lower East Side, Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn, I would not be the woman or artist that I am today,” Gaga wrote on LittleMonsters.com. “New York is relentless ambition, a drive to succeed, a place where there is a natural pursuit of diversity through compassion.” She added, “Thank you for helping me build my spirit.”
Pop prince Justin Bieber tweeted on November 8 that part of the profits from his upcoming November shows in New York and New Jersey will go toward the recovery cause. The chart-topping singer wrote, “We decided that for the Jersey, Brooklyn, and 2 MSG shows every ticket sold a dollar will be donated back to Hurricane Sandy Relief. #GIVEBACK.”
Rihanna also showed a charitable side on November 8, when the New York Daily News revealed that the Unapologetic star partnered with the newspaper to provide 1,000 sleeping bags to those in need. The singer has also turned the November 9 listening party for her upcoming seventh studio album into a drive for people affected by Sandy. Anyone hoping to get inside Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club will have to bring supplies, such as diapers, clothes, blankets, and cleaning products. Rihanna also announced — during an interview with Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen via Facebook Live on Thursday — that she will make a donation of $100,000 to the Food Bank for New York City.
On a smaller but no less noble scale, blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. collected canned goods, household supplies, and a minimum $20 cash donation from fans at his Brooklyn Bowl benefit show on November 6.
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell will follow suit on November 12, Blabbermouth reports, when he will play an acoustic set at Bowery Ballroom to raise money for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City on behalf of Sandy’s victims.
The Babies are chipping in as well, according to Brooklyn Vegan. Anyone who brings relief supplies to the band’s record release show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on November 13 will get $2 off the price of admission at the door. Among the requested items: blankets, diapers, baby food, flashlights and batteries, cleaning supplies, and warm clothing, such as scarves, heavy coats, gloves, and hats.
Dan Deacon will put all of the proceeds from his upcoming November 14 show at Music Hall of Williamsburg and November 16 performance at Bowery Ballroom toward Sandy-related charities. In a statement on his website, Deacon promised to give the money to the Red Cross and to Occupy Sandy. “Having grown up on Long Island, so much of my family and many of my close friends live in New York and New Jersey,” he wrote. “Hopefully this can help ease the recovery for even just a few people.”
Stand-up comedian Louis C.K., who had to cancel two performances because of Sandy, has scheduled two benefit sets for November 17 at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island. Proceeds from those shows will go toward the Project Hospitality Staten Island Hurricane Relief Fund.
West Coast late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who was forced to cancel one of his tapings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music during the storm, is auctioning off the Brooklyn-themed desk he sat behind for the four shows he did end up hosting at BAM. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the money for the desk — which has been autographed by Kimmel, as well as guests David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart — will go to the Red Cross. The auction ends on November 14.
Newly emancipated Blink-182 are selling an “East Coast Pride” T-shirt via their website, with all of the funds going directly to the Red Cross.
This all seems to be building toward the “12-12-12” concert at Madison Square Garden, which is being organized by the entertainment executives behind “The Concert for New York City” following the September 11 terrorist attacks. According to the New York Times, the lineup for the December 12 show has yet to be announced, but the event’s promoters plan to draw pop and rock’s biggest stars. “The Concert for New York City,” which took place on October 20, 2001, raised more than $30 million for victims of the 9/11 attacks and featured performances by Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, Elton John, Janet Jackson, and Billy Joel, among others.
Joel, who was raised on Long Island, teamed up with New Jersey’s Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi on November 2 for NBC’s hour-long telethon, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together. The concert, which raised $23 million for Red Cross aid to Sandy’s victims, paired those East Coast icons with Staten Island princess Christina Aguilera and the Bronx’s Mary J. Blige. Filling out the bill was Englishman Sting, along with three members of Boston heroes Aerosmith. “God bless New York,” Springsteen said near the program’s end. “God bless the Jersey Shore.”
To benefit the Jersey Shore, MTV has organized an hour-long fundraiser, scheduled to air live on November 15. Entertainment Weekly reported that the special, titled “Restore the Shore,” will feature the cast of MTV reality show Jersey Shore, along with other celebrity guests, urging viewers to make donations to help the reconstruction of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, which was devastated by the “super” storm. The television network has partnered with non-profit organization Architecture for Humanity, which provides victims of natural disaster with design and construction services. Funding from “Restore The Shore” will also go toward rebuilding businesses and homes in the area.