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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a devastating toll on the U.S., medical professionals and researchers are increasingly finding that people of color are being disproportionally impacted — particularly in some major cities. As a result of entrenched inequalities in resources, health, and access to care, a recent New York Times story reported, African Americans have been particularly hard hit in part because black Americans make up many parts of the work force that does not have the luxury of working from home.
In step with the rapidly changing situation, BET is taking action. On Wednesday, the network announced that it is now undertaking initiatives to support communities of color impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — one of which is Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort, which will air on Wednesday, April 22 at 8/7c.
The special, co-hosted by Kelly Rowland, Regina Hall, and Terrence J, will feature virtual appearances and musical performances from some of the biggest names in music and entertainment as they share tips on how to manage, cope, and help during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Celebrity who will make guest appearances and deliver performances throughout the airing will include DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson, Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, Fantasia, Melvin Crispell III, and more. The special will give up-to-date information and drive viewers to needed resources, according to a release.
“Our goal for this special is to come together in a collective spirit of strength, community and hope,” said Connie Orlando, executive vice president of specials, music programming and music strategy at BET. “As we unite in harmony and compassion, through the collective healing power of music, comedy and entertainment, we can bring restoration and inspire the world that our brighter days are ahead.”
The special is just one arm of a partnership BET has joined with the NAACP and United Way Worldwide. BET is also taking part in a four-part virtual town hall series in partnership with the NAACP, beginning Wednesday, April 8 at 8/7c. Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Powered by NAACP & BET will stream on NAACP.org and focus on how the pandemic is affecting African Americans and what steps the community can take to build an action plan. BET has also established a COVID-19 relief fund in partnership with United Way Worldwide to support African Americans who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort will air on Wednesday, April 22 at 8/7c on BET.