Global Citizen Live 2021 Combines Music and Social Justice

by The Cowl Editor on October 7, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Global Citizen Live 2021 Combines Music and Social Justice

Musicians, Activists Come Together for a Good Cause

Madison Palmieri ’22

On Saturday, Sept. 25, hundreds of today’s most talented musical artists from all genres, as well as a smattering of celebrities, donated their time to come together for Global Citizen Live 2021—even though they were not all in the same place.

The festival took place across six continents over the course of 24 hours with the intent of raising awareness  for worldwide issues such as poverty, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. It was scheduled to coincide with the UN General Assembly and G20 Climate Meetings. These are two important gatherings whose participants’ decisions have the potential to impact the issues Global Citizen is concerned with.

The organization was founded in 2008 with the goal of eradicating the most extreme forms of poverty by 2030. This year, however, it has focused on its “Recovery Plan for the World,” which seeks to end the pandemic through governmental and private sector aid that creates an “equitable global recovery.”

The concerts were held in venues including The Great Lawn in New York City’s Central Park and Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre. Other notable locations included London and Paris. At each venue, attendees were treated to unique, memorable performances from their favorite artists.

In Central Park, Camilla Cabello took the stage to perform “Havana” before her boyfriend and fellow singer Shawn Mendes joined her for a swoon-worthy rendition of their duet, “Senorita.” Billie Eilish dazzled fans with a set comprised of songs from her new album, Happier Than Ever. She also brought out her brother and frequent collaborator, FINNEAS, to perform a duet of “Your Power.” 

In between the musical performances, celebrities took to the stage, calling for social and political activism. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, for instance, expressed the need for vaccine equity across the globe. 

While the evening was filled with many outstanding performances, the most magical moments came during Coldplay’s set. They first performed their perpetually-tear-jerking hit “Fix You” with Eilish and FINNEAS in the twilight before inviting Cabello and Mendes back onstage to sing “Yellow,” another one of their classic tunes. For the grand finale, BTS appeared in hologram form for a bilingual performance of their new collaboration with Coldplay, “My Universe.”

In L.A., fans were treated to 5 Seconds of Summer’s first live performance in almost two years, opening with their 2014 smash hit, “She Looks So Perfect” and closing with their more recent chart-topper, “Youngblood.” Demi Lovato and Adam Lambert performed a rendition of “Mad World” and H.E.R. joined Stevie Wonder for a duet of “Superstition.”

In between sets, members of the Los Angeles Fire Department came onstage to share their harrowing personal experiences fighting wildfires in the hopes of raising awareness of how climate change leads to these devastating fires.

To close out the night, One Republic brought everyone back to the early 2010s for a crowd-pleasing rendition of their hit “Counting Stars.”

Across the pond, acts such as Duran Duran and Kylie Minogue performed in London; Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Black Eyed Peas, Doja Cat, Charlie Puth, and others took to the stage in Paris.

At all these venues and others, concertgoers, performers, and guest speakers alike were overjoyed to be back together in person. With the awareness generated by Global Citizen Live, hopefully they will soon be able to celebrate advancements in the social, political, economic, and environmental movements that Global Citizen champions.