1. This past Saturday, Central Park hosted the Global Citizen Festival, a five-hour concert featuring Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and Stevie Wonder as headliners.
2. Several other celebrities made appearances to further the concert’s cause of ending global poverty.
Bono, Katie Holmes, Janelle Monae, Olivia Wilde, Gerard Butler, Will.i.am, Elvis Costello, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon were amongst those who spoke onstage, as did several world leaders (including the Princess of Denmark and the Prime Minister of Malaysia) and activists.
3. At one point during his set, Stevie Wonder deviated from the night’s primary topic, global poverty, and took a moment to remember the men and women that have been lost due to gun violence.
4. “We must do something about the gun laws in our country,” he said.
“We have to do something about guns. And, can you believe it, that blind people carry guns? Come on.” Wonder jokingly mimed a blind person attempting to shoot, “Watch out, shoot him, he’s right over there. Oh, sorry, I missed him, I thought I had him!” The audience laughed and Wonder continued, “Come on… Let’s keep it real, is that ridiculous or what? It’s a bunch of-” Wonder prompted the audience to complete his sentence for him, and the audience dutifully responded, “Bullshit!” This is not the first time the singer has used his platform to advocate stronger gun control.
“Well I cannot leave without doing this song,” he continued. “Every time I sing this song, it brings such emotions to my heart. Most of all, to know that we lost this man because of a gun, because we don’t have laws dealing strongly enough with mental illness, we lost a great man. We’ve lost many great men and women and children. We have to do something about it, there has to be more control.”
While the audience of 60,000 people cheered, Wonder continued, “People must become more accountable for what they do. We have to. If we can find ways of getting all the way to Venus and Mars, we’ve gotta find a way of doing something with guns so people are more accountable. So, in the spirit of a man who lived only a small bit away from here, I want us all to sing this song.”
He began playing the opening piano riff of “Imagine,” a song iconic as a call for world peace, and said “John Lennon,” before beginning to sing.