in , , , ,

Global Citizen Event Does What Other Festivals Shy Away From

Global Citizen

Fight against extreme poverty in the name of music

Usually when asked to retweet anything online by anyone, participation is a rarity. Since Hootsuite entered my life, my online usage has lessened tremendously and I hardly ever get the urge to open any applications on my iPhone. It just so happens, a few days prior, I saw a promotional tweet from YPlan:

I wanted to win tickets, so I did.

— YPlan (@YPlanNYC) September 27, 2013

Before we knew it, we met Rytis again for tickets to the second annual festival in Central Park’s Great Lawn devoted to eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, women’s equality, global health and more. We didn’t know about it last year, but this year over 60,000 people were in attendance. Amongst the audience were people of all ages and it was clear which age groups specifically came to see Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and Stevie Wonder. We’re not just pulling this out of our asses, we watched as concertgoers rose to their feet from the thick, cut grass when their favourite performer made it to the stage after a world leader encourage us to take action and sign petitions.

“What better place to do this than New York City?” I thought.

Actresses Katie Holmes and Olivia Wilde came to onstage to present, will.i.am and singers Janelle Monae and Elvis Costello sang a song or two as fillers before the main attractions performed a set. Oddly, Janelle Monae joined Stevie Wonder to sing a class record as he sat to play the piano. We really enjoyed putting faces to all of the people working these organizations, and were constantly in tears when Liberia was mentioned. When Bono introduced President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and she walked onto the stage, I was fine until she started to speak and she reminded of my family. It was then, I cried like a child. A lot of what was said about Liberia via Bono, President Sirleaf, Forbes Magazine Editor Randall Lane, and Dr. Rajiv Shah, made me realize that all of the crisis and issues that my grandparents and parents, and brothers and sisters have faced were all at the hands of the Liberian Civil Wars. It was very emotional.

An older British woman who stood in front of me asked, “You’re from Liberia?”

I nodded in agreement. Then, she rubbed on my shoulder.

Apart from from seeing Mandela’s grandsons speak, seeing President Joyce Banda (Malawi) for the first time, my favorite part of the festival was when the condom owners came out to give their speech. In the midst of them talking about contraception, the importance of women’s equality, and loving each other, people surrounding me were saying the most disrespectful things ever. It was evident that a large percent of the 60,000 people present were just there for the music. People complained as very important people were talking and very important issues. Frankly, it was irritating but it’s why they pulled everyone in with music in the first place. At least, in total, they’ve raised over 1.3 billion dollars since last year.

Global Citizen Festival livestream

Our first experience at the Global Citizen Festival was unforgettable, and we will do whatever we can do to help spread awareness. You can help us too by signing the petitions on this site. It’s a 1-click process. Login with your Facebook to help fight the fight. With everyone’s help, we can change the world and make it better for others who are in need.


*YPlan, the new mobile ticketing app, is one of the coolest inventions in the world. Download it here, now. For more about the Global Citizen Festival, just click here.


For more YPlan, just click here.

Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor. She is part of the Complex Day Ones, an exclusive community to help make the Complex experiences even better.