Rihanna Among Those Calling For The Eradication Of Polio, Performs At Global Citizen Festival

When it comes to music, Rihanna has not trouble making her voice heard, but this past weekend, she shared her talent to speak out for something more important than just entertainment. Along with many others, Rihanna performed at the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park, leading the charge to help alleviate world poverty and eradicate polio, reports the CBC.

“We got global citizens in the house tonight — I myself, I’m from Barbados so I came a long way,” Rihanna said. “There are people all over the globe that need help.”

In 2016, only 26 cases of polio were reported suggesting that the world is now 99.9 percent polio-free. However, in order to finish the disease once and for all, it is estimated that another $1.5 billion will need to be raised. Rihanna was among those Global Citizens who took it upon themselves to securing commitments or increasing their commitments to the cause. The singer even received a shout out from the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Lately my office has been flooded with phone calls and tweets from many of you. Thanks Rihanna!,” said Trudeau via video message played at the festival. “I’ve heard your voices loud and clear on a whole range of issues – from supporting the eradication of polio, to ensuring every girl everywhere has the chance to go to school. Canada has long supported efforts to fight polio, which is now 99.9 percent eliminated. And we will be a strong partner through to the end. Thank you for keeping these issues on our global agenda. Keep calling, keep tweeting, keep lighting up our switchboards. We’re listening, and we’re taking action. You’ve shown to the world that change starts with you. Together, we will end it for good.”

Michele Sullivan; Tana Utley; Hugh Jackman
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: (L-R) Caterpillar Foundation President Michele Sullivan, Vice President of Large Power Systems & Growth Markets Division at Caterpillar Inc. Tana Utley and actor Hugh Jackman speak onstage at the 2016 Global Citizen Festival In Central Park To End Extreme Poverty By 2030 at Central Park on September 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen) *** Local Caption *** Michele Sullivan; Tana Utley; Hugh Jackman

Hosted by slew of celebrities including Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman & Deborra-lee Jackson, Chelsea Handler, Priyanka Chopra, and Salma Hayek Pinault, the Global Citizen Festival provided entertainment for fans in thanks for their hard work in helping to “further the world’s progress toward achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development” as reported in today’s press release.

Among those performing with Rihanna on stage at the festival were Eddie Vedder Chris Martin, Kendrick Lamar, Metallica, Ellie Goulding, Usher, Yandel, Yusuf (Cat Stevens) and Demi Lovato.

Robert Trujillo, James Hetfield, and Kirk Hammett
Robert Trujillo, James Hetfield, and Kirk Hammett of Metallica perform onstage at the 2016 Global Citizen Festival In Central Park in New York City. (Image by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Global Citizen has been engaging people to speak out about important health issues and encourage their world leaders to make changes whenever possible to help end hunger, fight disease, improve sanitation, increase education and more worldwide for five years now. Their biggest hurdle is to end world poverty by 2030.

Before the festival, Global Citizen was able to secure 14 new commitments, ensure accountability and delivery of six prior commitments, and pushed through nine campaigns to further encourage world leaders to keep the promises they’ve made to Global Citizen.

“Together, these commitments and announcements are worth $1.9 billion, and are set to reach 199 million people, and put the world on track to achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development,” states today’s press release. “Global Citizens will continue to use these commitments to hold governments and businesses accountable to deliver on their promises in the years to come.”

Rihanna was actually late to perform on stage, much to Chris Martin’s chagrin, who was to play one song before she came on stage. When she didn’t arrive on time, he had to improvise new lyrics to Prince’s “Raspberry Beret.”

Rihanna closed the 2016 festival singing a bunch of her hit songs including “We Found Love” and “Umbrella.”

[Featured Image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images]