It’s been a year since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, claiming nearly 3,000 lives and making it the second-deadliest storm to ever hit U.S. shores. The Category 4 hurricane left a trail of destruction that still impacts the island to date.
President Trump has consistently denied any fault for his administration in the aftermath of the storm, tweeting Thursday morning, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.” Contrary to Trump’s beliefs, federal response has been horrendous with residents reportedly going months without water, food and power.
However, activists, organizers and even entertainers have lent a helping hand, fundraising, collecting supplies and encouraging their fans to do the same. Here, we highlight celebs who’ve supported Puerto Rico in its time of need:
Nuyorican rapper Princess Nokia launched Hood 2 La Gente, a campaign aimed at mobilizing the community and providing direct support to organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico, in August.
Hood 2 La Gente is committed to raising at least $2,000 for each organization involved in the project, and they are also accepting in-kind donations of tools, non-perishable food items and school supplies, among other things. The local organizations involved in the campaign include Sol es Vida, El Hormiguero, Luis Llorens Torres projects, Urbe Apie, the Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition, and El Centro de Apoyo Mutuo de Utuado. Nokia held a fundraiser in Brooklyn, New York on September 9.
Check out her announcement post, below. You can donate to Hood 2 La Gente’s GoFundMe Puerto Rico Relief page, here.
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is committed to Puerto Rico’s arts and culture community, which suffered greatly from Hurricane Maria. In July, Miranda, whose parents are from the island, announced a multi-million dollar fund to support arts and culture.
Theatre company Y No Habia Luz will receive $180,000 from the fund, managed by the nonprofit Flamboyan Foundation. The Theatre of the University of Puerto Rico, where Miranda returns to the lead role in the show in early 2019, and the Puerto Rico Museum of Art will each receive $1 million. An art education program and a dance school will receive $900,000.
He hopes the fund will grow to $15 million in the coming years.
Miranda made the announcement on Twitter.
A Sunday tweet
From 35,000 feet pic.twitter.com/P0PW5RakEQ
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 22, 2018
Bronx-bred multi-hyphenated entertainer Jennifer Lopez felt the brunt of Hurricane Maria firsthand, waiting six days to hear from her family. She turned her concern into action, donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas show to support victims. Lopez, ex-husband Marc Anthony and her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez organized One Voice: Somos Live! A Concert for Disaster Relief, a benefit concert and telethon that was televised on Telemundo, Univision and NBC. It included performances from celebs like fellow Boriqua entertainer Ricky Martin, Gwen Stefani, Demi Lovato, Maroon 5, Mary J. Blige and others.
“There’s just no question about it when it comes to things like this,” Lopez said to People.com. “The truth is, we are all one. We are all family. We are doing this because it’s the right thing to do. Our community needs us right now, and we are very aware that we are leaders in our community. If we step out and do something, hopefully people will follow and do the same.”
Lopez, co-chair of the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico, and Rodriguez personally raised $26 million in corporate pledges and donations prior to the event from the business, sports and entertainment world, and another $9 million was pledged during the event to benefit Feeding America, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity, Unidos for Puerto Rico, United Way, Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Fund and UNICEF.
Former New York Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez not only supported the benefit concert, but traveled to Puerto Rico in January with his girlfriend, JLo.
The couple announced the launch of the Puerto Rico Federally Qualified Health Centers Disaster Recovery Fund, an effort to boost the work of health centers that provide accessible healthcare to underserved communities in the wake of the hurricane. The effort is in partnership with the Hispanic Federation and in conjunction with RCHN Community Health Foundation.
Rodriguez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, documented the trip on his Instagram.
Marc Anthony hasn’t been quiet surrounding Trump’s recent claim that his administration did a “tremendous” job handling the hurricane’s devastation. The singer, born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, took to Instagram to blast Trump on his claim.
Alongside Lopez, Anthony created relief initiative “Somos Una Voz” (We Are One Voice) in September 2017, as well as the benefit concert. The alliance includes Daddy Yankee, Fat Joe, Luis Fonsi, Maluma and Romeo Santos, among others.
Jesse & Joy
Brother and sister duo Jesse & Joy are also apart of the “Somos Una Voz” relief initiative. Their second performance at the Latin American Music Awards last October was dedicated to all the victims of recent natural disasters. Jesse & Joy sang a rendition of Fito Páez’s famous song ,“Yo Vengo a Ofrecer Mi Corazón.”
Rapper Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez, sent his private plane to Puerto Rico to transport cancer patients in need of chemotherapy treatment to the U.S mainland after the hurricane hit. “Thank God we’re blessed to help. Just doing my part,” he said in a statement to the New York Daily News.
“She Bangs” singer Ricky Martin raised over $4,000 to support his native Puerto Rico. Shortly after the hurricane hit, Martin traveled to the island with fellow entertainers Nicky Jam, Luis Fonsi and Chayanne.
“Despacito” singer-songwriter Luis Fonsi, Puerto Rico’s official ambassador for tourism, was in the middle of his first major U.S. tour when Hurricane Maria hit the island that was celebrated in the megahit’s music video. Fonsi also is apart of the “Somos Una Voz” relief initiative, and visited the island with fellow Puerto Rican celebs like Nicky Jam, Ricky Martin and Chayanne.
Bronx born rapper Fat Joe teamed with music streaming service Tidal, JAY Z, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to send supplies to Puerto Rico. Using a plane provided by Hov, he reportedly helped send 200,000 pounds worth of goods to the island.
Reggaetonero Daddy Yankee donated $1 million toward hurricane relief, which will be divided among Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and local organizations in Puerto Rico. He also provided $100,000 to the food bank, which is enough money to feed about 9,000 families in Toa Baja, a town 20 miles away from San Juan, according to CNN. Upon finding out that the food was at risk for spoiling due, he located 200 gallons of diesel for the bank’s generator. He’s also used Twitter to retweet information and ask his followers to support the island’s rebuilding efforts.
“As a Puerto Rican who lives on the island, I felt the call, that the rebuilding of my country has to be for a long term,” he said in a statement. “In this initial phase, I want to make sure that every person has a plate to eat. In the long run, my commitment is work to ensure that the largest number of families on the island have a safe roof.”
“Jane the Virgin” actress Gina Rodriguez partnered with Ulta to raise $10,000 for breast cancer awareness on “Ellen.” After her amazing entrance, Rodriguez taught Ellen’s executive producer Andy Lassner a few moves, too. For her talent, Ellen DeGeneres awarded Rodriguez an extra $10,000 for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
Gloria and Emilio Estefan
Power couple Gloria and Emilio Estefan—and team—delivered supplies to the devastated island after the storm hit.