The Global Citizen Festival lineup ranges from Mariah to Metallica

The New York component of this fall’s awareness-raising Global Citizen Festival brings together stylistically diverse artists such as Mariah Carey, Metallica, Maneskin, Rosalia, Mickey Guyton, Charlie Puth and the Jonas Brothers – with a “bonus Jonas” so to speak, in the form of Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the activist, who will host for the live audience in Central Park on September 25, as well as an ABC special the following night.

Far from Manhattan, the stars will also shine in Accra, Ghana, where the other half of the event – also on September 25 – will go down with a cast of performers including HER, Usher, SZA, Tems, Stormzy, Gyakie, Sarkodie and Stonebwoy.

The show is being touted as Global Citizen’s 10th anniversary, bringing together music stars from multiple genres for a free concert on Central Park’s Great Lawn. But that’s not the only anniversary celebrated by Global Citizen, which fights to alleviate numerous diseases, all of which ultimately stem from the central cause of eradicating world poverty.

“We wanted to celebrate our 10th anniversary,” says Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen, at the traditional home of the event Diversity. “But this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the African Union and Ghana’s 65th anniversary of its independence from Britain. This is an important moment for Pan-Africanism. You know, Ghana is a beacon for the West African region and continent because the first African nation to be liberated is seen as a leader in Africa for both democracy and economic growth. There’s this beautiful simplicity of the journey of the transatlantic slave trade, literally from the side of Black Star Square [where the Ghana concert will happen] to Lady Liberty, which connects the two cities. Ghana is a symbol of African excellence, just as the city of New York represents freedom and the issues that we at Global Citizen champion.”

Evans and Chopra Jonas are celebrating one anniversary of their hosting engagements, albeit with a not-so-tidy number. “Not bad. Her 10th anniversary and my sixth,” she quipped, half-jokingly, as she shared a speakerphone with Evans earlier this week before boarding an overnight plane to make the formal announcement in Ghana. Chopra Jones hosted a Paris component of the annual festival in 2021, having first come on board in 2016 to host the center in Central Park.

Certainly there’s pressure on her not to settle on an artist on the bill that she’s most looking forward to…”Do ME?” Chopra interrupts Jones, playfully poking fun at the idea that she might have to maintain neutrality. “I mean, am I’m looking forward to the Jonas Brothers? I don’t know,” she teases.

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citizen of the world
citizen of the world

Evans says, “Global Citizen is inherently global, so we wanted it to apply to everyone, across the world. And that’s why incredible superstars from the likes of SZA, Usher, HER and Stormzy take the stage in Ghana, to the Jonas Brothers and Metallica in Central Park. You will see complete demographics, all ages, all backgrounds, united behind a common mission. Chris Martin [Global Citizen’s most dedicated repeat performer] often says it’s one of the few stages where you get everyone under one roof. And that ecumenical nature of what we do is, I think, the power of the movement.

“We need to bring soccer moms to graduating kids, all together on the same pitch, on the same footprint, on the same weekend, to have the same rallying cry or world leaders will continue to ignore these messages. And right now, we cannot tell world leaders to ignore this news for even a second.”

The festival can be experienced live or the following day via several media partners. For those wishing to watch or hear the August 24 concerts, live broadcasts or webcasts will take place via YouTube, iHeart Radio, Twitter, ABC News Network, Hulu and other platforms. A more condensed special will air August 25 at 7 p.m. ET/6 PT on ABC. More broadcast and streaming details will be released in the coming weeks.

Although Global Citizen typically highlights different areas of need in its annual or one-off concert events, this year’s poster art focuses on three: “For girls. For the planet. To end poverty.” The “girl” element is one that has not always surfaced in the philanthropic organization’s focus. But it’s a big part of it for Chopra Jonas.

“Hugh and I were just talking about this, specifically the world food crisis [because of] the pandemic and the way the poorer countries of the world are literally [starving],” she says. “How can children still be dying of malnutrition? How can anyone even go to bed hungry? As someone who grew up in a developing country, I saw tremendous poverty around me. And I just feel, that it’s really important to use funds for the right things as we evolve, the world evolves and our financial capabilities evolve. That’s something that’s really important to me. I don’t think anyone should ever go to bed hungry That should be a fundamental human right.

“And of course as a woman, having recognized and recognized the privilege I had growing up, I was raised by parents who gave me the opportunity to make my own choices, to be educated and to give me an environment where I could thrive. It’s very important to me to empower girls around the world who don’t have that.”

Promotional materials for the event paint a bleak picture, but the org believes real goals are achievable if “citizen” viewers heed the call to pressure government and corporate leaders to invest. The festival “will call on world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly and ahead of the G20 and COP27 in November to get involved and invest $600 million in the future of women and girls, closing the 10-year annual funding gap.” Shut down $1 billion on climate action and commit $500 million to help African farmers respond to the global food crisis and lift urgent debt from debt-crushing to end extreme poverty NOW.”

Martin and Chopra Jones emphasize that this is not a one-off exercise in emphasizing Africa. “We have a history on the continent and we hosted ‘Mandela 100’ with Beyonce and Jay-Z in 2018 and also last year [hosting part of] “Global Citizen Live” by Legos, Nigeria,” says Evans. “Our office is well established in the region and we have done everything from the Be Good Scholarship program to the Curtis Scholarship funded by Kelly Curtis of Pearl Jam which also empowers young people across Africa. So this is now a long-term legacy for the organization. This is very important for us because we wanted to show, despite the economic situation the world is in, that we will not turn our backs on the continent. In fact, we will double.” The Global Citizen Festival lineup ranges from Mariah to Metallica

Charles Jones

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