Bruno Mars always puts on a great show, but near the end of a sold out performance in Michigan, he announced that he would give something much more substantial: a $1 million donation to help victims of the Flint water crisis.
The pop star/songwriter was performing at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday night, and Detroit Free Press reports that he paused during a performance of his song “Just the Way You Are” to share the news. He shared a media statement later, explaining that the donation would go toward the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
“I’m very thankful to the Michigan audience for joining me in supporting this cause. Ongoing challenges remain years later for Flint residents, and it’s important that we don’t forget our brothers and sisters affected by this disaster. As people, especially as Americans, we need to stand together to make sure something like this never happens in any community ever again.”
Isaiah M. Oliver, the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, released a statement accepting the donation:
“With a grateful heart, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint is honored to accept this inspiring donation. We know Bruno Mars’ $1 million gift will be transformative to the children and families of Flint. He understands the issues faced by Flint citizens, and we are touched by his concern and generosity.”
The Flint water crisis is a result of an emergency manager – an official whose power usurps local elected officials – appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. To cut costs in Flint, the emergency manager switched the city’s water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River, and failed to treat the water properly. The water was corrosive, which made it leach lead from city pipelines in the city. As a result, children have been exposed to high lead levels, and 12 people have died of Legionairres Disease. The water has been unusable ever since, so residents have had to use filters and pick up bottled water at stations around the city.
Celebrities have been involved in various fundraising and awareness-raising efforts to fight the crisis. In 2016, REVOLT livestreamed #Justice4Flint, a benefit show organized by the collective Blackout for Human Rights. The concert featured performers like Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monae, and Hannibal Burress, and raised $18,000 for the cause. Watch the #Justice4Flint benefit show above.
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