An all-star cast of international celebrities make pleas to help Haiti at telethon

NEW YORK — Grim-faced celebrities and musicians with mournful tunes set the tone for the all-star, international "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon on Friday night, which featured two hours of desperate pleas for an even more-desperate nation. But it ended on a hopeful note, with a buoyant call for Haiti's revival by native son, Wyclef Jean.

"Enough of this moping man, let's rebuild Haiti, let's show 'em how we do it where we come from!" he said after singing the slow song Rivers of Babylon, with a Haitian flag around his neck.

He segued into the joyful tune Yele with an island beat, as musicians danced around him, singing the refrain: "Earthquake, we see the earth shake, but the soul of the Haitian people will never break!"

It was a stark contrast from the opening of the telecast: no words, simply photos of Haiti's tragic citizens as a backdrop, as Alicia Keys called for the help of angels in somber tune.

"Can you send me an angel to guide me?" Keys sang from her song Prelude to a Kiss. There was no audience or applause, allowing the moment to sink in for the millions expected to watch.

"The Haitian people need our help," said George Clooney, who helped organize the two-hour telecast on all the major networks and channels. "They need to know that they are not alone. They need to know that we still care."

Then, after a plea from Halle Berry, Bruce Springsteen dedicated a song for Haiti — We Shall Overcome.

The biggest celebrities from music, film, sports and even politics joined together for the telethon. Stars like Mel Gibson, Reese Witherspoon and Julia Roberts manned telephone lines while CNN's Anderson Cooper gave reports about the situation from Haiti.

It was not immediately known how much money was raised by the show.

Taxpayers will be able to write off charitable donations to Haiti earthquake relief efforts when they file their 2009 taxes this spring under a bill President Barack Obama signed Friday.

An all-star cast of international celebrities make pleas to help Haiti at telethon 01/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 22, 2010 11:14pm]

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