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Celebrities post inspiring messages and host concerts on social media to reach out to the world

Alicia Keys performs on a piano during a concert.

From actress Barbra Streisand to singer-songwriter John Legend to motivational speaker Prince Ea, celebrities and influencers have shared their thoughts surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic with the world through social media.

Nalani Matthias, a sophomore from New Jersey majoring in music, said, “Celebrities have a huge audience, and they can make such a big difference because of their popularity and spread positive words to lots of people.”

Overcoming fear of the virus

Prince Ea is an American spoken word artist, poet and motivational speaker. In a video released on March 29 titled “F-Virus” he spoke about the virus and the state of the world.

He said fear is the deadliest effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “You better not sneeze because no one’s going to say, ‘God bless you.’ They might even arrest you.”

He shared how fast fear spreads and how fear can turn into hatred and blame as it has with countries accusing one another. He then instructs his viewers on how to address fear when faced with it.

“Don’t be afraid, despite what you hear or see on your TV. There is good news during this tragedy ... people are performing concerts on their balconies to curb loneliness. The [United Arab Emirates] sent aid to Iran. Japan donated supplies to China for free. Written on them was a poem that said, ‘We are waves from the same sea.’

“Like every tragedy, we can let this destroy us, or we can use it to our benefit and repair relationships with our sisters and brothers ... Let’s social distance, boost our immune systems, be mindful of where we put our hands, but also where we put our attention.”

Iris Zavala, a freshman from Honduras majoring in elementary education, said her favorite quote from his video was, “Be alert, not fearful ... The only thing that will save us is love.”

She said of the quote, “I feel this is a time to focus on the things that matter the most: Family and God. Two hundred years ago Satan tried to make [Joseph Smith] feel fear when praying.

“Two hundred years later, [Satan] is making us feel the same way, so we [shouldn’t] trust him, but rejoice in this beautiful time of 200 years of restoration.”

Sweet love

Sweet love is what the world needs now, said actress Barbara Streisand on her Instagram. “We really do need each other for support right now because this disease doesn’t discriminate between poor people or rich people.

“It doesn’t care about the color of your skin. A virus doesn’t have a nationality. It knows no borders. We all need to pray for and thank our health care workers who are risking their lives to save others.”

She said people should stay home and suggested they do spring cleaning, cleaning out drawers, reading books, and being constructive. She said she has taken up baking and made the same cupcakes she used to make as a teenager. “We all need a little sweetness in our lives,” she said.

Sarah Knight, a senior from California majoring in vocal performance, said, “I like how it’s basically what everyday people are saying. But she’s using her [influence] as a celebrity.”

Knight said her siblings are learning self-reliance skills like how to support themselves living off of the land and making things with what they have. “I know it’s not only true for my family, but a lot of families,” she added.

Great acts are happening during this time to support families, according to Knight. “Where my [roommate] lives in Washington, they are dropping meals off at students’ homes. In my hometown, people can go and pick it up in the morning and get breakfast and lunch.”

Knight said, “I know it’s hard, but the more we sacrifice ... to kick [coronavirus] in the butt, the less we have to pay later. The more we stay inside, like they said the first time, we will be able to go [back] to work a lot faster.”

Knight went on to say, “Most of us are actually able to do this whether we think we are or not. We are able to stay home and still be okay for a little bit. It’s the fact that the entire world is going through it, it’s not just one specific family not making money.”

Non-essential events

Singer-songwriter John Legend shared his thoughts on Twitter. “Now that folks are canceling non-essential travel and events, [you] start to realize how much we schedule that’s non-essential.

“Of course, what we do is critical to human joy, inspiration, etc., but [the] entire entertainment industry is full of individually non-essential events.”

Matthias said, “He does make a good point about individual entertainment events being ‘non-essential,’ because they are. However, during quarantine and this time, the whole world is turning to the arts for comfort. People are listening to more music, singing, watching movies, etc. More people are uniting over music.”

Dani Jolley, a senior from Washington majoring in biology, said the majority of what people do to keep themselves busy is not essential for survival.

She said, “Though we are by ourselves and have to isolate, we are not alone in this. Everyone is, in some way, affected by this. It is not [just] one person who’s going to make this all go away.

“It is up to each person individually to do their part. That’s how all the difference is made. We are all together alone. It’s by working together that we improve, innovate and make something beautiful.”

There is a purpose

Jolley said, “When we go through hard times, we might have questions. Are we here to just survive? It prompts the question, ‘What is essential to you?’ Outside of the basic necessities, what is essential to your happiness, to your sense of fulfillment, to your life outside of survival?

“Even though this is a terrible time with much suffering and death, maybe we will be able to find ourselves and figure out what it is that truly matters to us.”

Living room concerts

Celebrities have taken to their living rooms with the purpose of giving free concerts via social media and setting up donations to charitable causes.

Local North Shore artist Jack Johnson held an hour-long #TogetherAtHome Concert in his living room, joined by his children, via Instagram where fans could message him song requests. He partnered with the World Health Organization and urged supporters to donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Alicia Keys sang sitting at a piano in her home on Sunday, March 29 to kick off the hour-long iHeart Living Room Concert for America. The event, hosted by Elton John, featured other musical artists and also raised money for Feeding America and other charities serving victims of the coronavirus pandemic, according to billboard.com.

During her concert, Keys said during a song intro, “This song is like a prayer. I hope that we remember how resilient we are and how we defy the odds. I'd like to dedicate this song to all first responders and medical professionals that are risking their life to keep us safe. We're so grateful."