As the coronavirus crisis continues to ravage Black communities across the nation, BET is launching a series of initiatives to help people make it through.
The network announced a star-studded special, Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort, set to air on April 22.
Kelly Rowland will co-host the special along with Regina Hall and Terrence J. The fundraiser will include virtual visits and performances from celebs like DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson, Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, and Fantasia.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is savagely compounding the profound health and financial vulnerabilities many Black Americans face. Every day, there are new reports of how this pandemic is killing African Americans at much higher rates than other communities,” Scott Mills, president of BET, said in a statement.
“BET is using all of our resources — our capital, our media platforms, our relationships with the creative community, sponsors, businesses and charitable organizations to support our community in this time of crisis.”
In addition, the network has partnered with United Way to establish a COVID-19 relief fund to support Black folks impacted by the pandemic.
The network will host Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Powered by NAACP & BET on Wednesday night.
At the onset of the global pandemic, some Black people believed they were immune to the coronavirus as it first swept through nations in Asia and Europe.
Not only has that once-humorous assertion been debunked, but the effects on Black communities have been the polar opposite: COVID-19 fatalities in African-American communities are increasing at an alarming pace.
Due largely to environmental, economic and political factors, African-Americans have long suffered disproportionately from adverse health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and autoimmune diseases. Now, cities with large Black populations, like Detroit and New Orleans, have seen their case counts grow exponentially.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Wayne County, which includes majority-Black Detroit, accounts for 47 percent of its state’s positive cases. Chicago and Milwaukee have also reported high rates of African-American fatalities in comparison to other races.