By Alicia Powell
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kelly Rowland, Halle Berry and Anthony Anderson are among a host of black celebrities taking on the coronavirus epidemic as the disease continues to disproportionately affect minorities in the United States.
The actors and singers will take part in television special “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort,” airing on cable channel BET on Wednesday, that aims to deliver financial, educational and community support directly to the African American community.
Early data from U.S. states shows African Americans are dying from coronavirus at higher rates than the population at large, highlighting long-standing disparities in health and inequalities in access to medical care.
Rowland, a founder member of Destiny’s Child who will host the event along with Regina Hall and Terrence J., said the statistics have made her heart drop
“We can’t have something like this take out our community,” she said. “I feel like we’ve been through so much. Our ancestors have been through so much. So we have to get through something like this,” Rowland said.
Others participating in Wednesday’s special include Chance the Rapper, DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson and Fantasia.
Before U.S. states imposed strict lockdowns a month ago, Rowland was preparing to release an album she’s been working on for six years.
She decided to drop the first single “Coffee” early last week with hopes of bringing a bit of escapism to people.
She said the opening bells of “Coffee” took her back to a favorite spot in Jamaica.
“I was, like, if it makes me feel like that, I wonder what would it do for other people?… The women that are in this video are just so grounded in their beauty and sexuality and they’re so unapologetic about it. I was like, yeah, we need some of that right now.”
(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)