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BET, NAACP seek to combat racial disparities during global pandemic

Chance the Rapper and his wife Kirsten Corley
(Photo credit: Norman Johnson for Steed Media)

Following recent reports that reveal racial disparities between those who contract and die from the global pandemic, Black Entertainment Television has teamed up with the NAACP and United Way Worldwide to tackle the crisis.

“Our goal for this special is to come together in a collective spirit of strength, community and hope. As we unite in harmony and compassion, through the collective healing power of music, comedy and entertainment, we can bring restoration and inspire the world that our brighter days are ahead,” said Connie Orlando, EVP specials, music programming and music strategy at BET.

These initiatives will include the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special; the creation of a relief fund in partnership with United Way Worldwide to assist people of color most impacted by this health and financial crisis, and our support of the NAACP’s Town Hall Series.

On April 8, BET and the NAACP will present, “Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Powered by NAACP & BET” that will stream on NAACP.org. The event will focus on how the pandemic is affecting African Americans and what steps the community can take to build an action plan for positive change. The first town hall will focus on the health, emotional, economic toll, congressional response and how activists can apply pressure to ensure legislation is equitable.

The “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast will air on April 22. Co-hosted by Grammy Award-winning singer, actress Kelly Rowland and TV personality Terrence J,  actress Regina Hall; the event will feature virtual appearances and musical performances from some of the biggest names in music and entertainment as they share tips on how to manage, cope and help during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Celebrity guests will include Chance the Rapper, DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson, Kirk Franklin, Fantasia, Melvin Crispell III, and many more. The special will also give up-to-date information and drive viewers to needed resources.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is savagely compounding the profound health and financial vulnerabilities many Black Americans face. Every day, there are new reports of how this pandemic is killing African Americans at much higher rates than other communities,” said Scott Mills, President of BET.  “BET is using all of our resources – our capital, our media platforms, our relationships with the creative community, sponsors, businesses and charitable organizations to support our community in this time of crisis.”