Beyoncé and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Veffer stole the 2015 Global Citizen Festival show by powerfully fostering human rights. For a crowd of thousands Saturday night in New York’s Central Park and millions viewing on live-stream and Television, the duet closed the event with a stirring rendition of Bob Marley’s revolutionary “Redemption Song” along with a video of part of Nelson Mandela’s historic 2005 speech that rallied to end poverty.
“In support of Global Citizen — an initiative to combat extreme poverty and inequality around the world — a star-studded cast made appearances, but none shone quite a brightly as the unlikely duo of Beyoncé and Vedder,” reports Raw Story on Sunday.
“It was one of the night’s most heartfelt moments: Two giants of pop music from different times and musical worlds, taking a risk and sharing a stage,” the Wall Street Journal says.
With only Veffer’s acoustic guitar, the Beyoncé-Veffer pop queen and king duet took turns singing Marley’s famous”Redemption Song” verses, at times singing together in perfect harmony, all with contagious human energy sparking between them and rippling throughout the crowd. The event, streamed on YouTube and MSNBC, was dedicated to raising awareness of poverty effects and inequality globally. The core principle behind human rights is equality.
Amid the duet’s moving performance, with only the tune continuing, a giant video clip on the big screens appeared, showing the late South African President Nelson Mandela’s historic Make Poverty History 2005 speech at Trafalgar Square to 22,000 people there. Mandela asserted that to not rise up and end poverty is a crime against humanity.
“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up,” Saturday nights crowd saw Mandela say in his rallying speech in 2005.
In that same spirit, Marley’s “Redemption Song” rallied millions of the “now” generation to triumph against evil:
“But my head was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
During part of Mandela’s speech watched last night, he asserted what Marley conveyed in his “Redemption Song” words: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,” and “Won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom?”
Mandela rallied the crowd in 2005 and again Saturday night by stating, “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”
Marley and Mandela echoed humanity being enslaved as long as poverty exists. Nobody experiences true freedom while others suffer from poverty, according to both of the profound human rights advocates.
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life,” Mandela said. “While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
Global Citizen Festival is part of the Global Poverty Project, a UN-backed campaign to end extreme poverty by 2030.