The Call to Unite via AP
Friday, May 1, 2020 | 11:30 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey keeps updated with the coronavirus news, but she has often focused her attention more on the positive “acts of valor” while being on lockdown during the pandemic.
The media mogul said Friday evening that she wants people to digest daily information wisely during the Call to Unite 24-hour livestream global relief event. She was among 200 star-studded participants including President Bill Clinton and Julia Roberts to take part in the event.
The event was initiated to help inspire people to endure and overcome the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have a small diet and managed how I took in the news,” said Winfrey on Friday evening from her home, where she has been self-quarantining with three others for nearly 50 days. She said she hopes the event can help the world become better.
“If you leave it on all the time — as I know some people do — you will be consumed by the agitation, the hysteria, the confusion and constant angst that has been put into your phone, home and into your spirit,” she continued. “I have chosen to focus on so many acts of courage and valor, determination and people not giving up.”
Each participant will answer calls in their own way, whether through performing a song, sharing a story or offering a prayer.
Winfrey spoke with event organizer Tim Shriver and then Bishop T.D. Jakes, who prayed with her.
Jakes showed remorse for those who had family members and friends die from the virus. But the bishop, who is a talk-show host, entrepreneur and best-selling author, said he believes the world can pull through.
“We have seen this before and survived,” Jakes said. “Just a 100 years ago, we went through something like this. And before that, the Bubonic plague. We are resilient. We will work our way out as we hold each other and love each other.”
President George W. Bush said he believes solidarity is also a solution.
“Even at an appropriate social distance, we can find ways to be present in the lives of others to ease their anxiety and share their burdens,” he said in a message.
Clinton delivered an encouraging message that “we can get through this together.”
Roberts read a “Rescue the Princess” children’s book in one video, and Josh Groban sang a song while playing his keyboard piano in another. Charlamagne Tha God gave inspiring words for people dealing with mental illness while hunkered inside their homes.
“Hawaii Five-O” actor Daniel Dae Kim said he has donated his plasma after recovering from the virus. “I hope I can be a source for hope,” Kim said.
The event kicked off with a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Instead of performing collectively, each member clapped and danced individually in various places from inside their apartment, rooftop or park to the tune of Ailey’s “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.”
Quincy Jones, Jennifer Garner, Common, Maria Shriver, Questlove, Yo-Yo Ma, Eva Longoria, Naomi Campbell and Alanis Morissette are expected to participate in the event. It’s being livestreamed at unite.us and on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, LinkedIn and SiriusXM Stars.