Award-winning Canadian singer The Weeknd, who holds the record for the longest-charting single in the US, has joined with World Food Programme (WFP) as a Goodwill Ambassador.
“The UN World Food Programme is doing urgent and important work to change and save lives on a daily basis and I feel passionately about addressing world hunger and helping people in need,” he said, accepting the honour at a special ceremony in Los Angeles yesterday (7 October).
The Weeknd has been a passionate advocate and generous supporter of humanitarian causes throughout his career, donating more than US$3 million to various organizations in the past year alone. Most recently, he gifted US$1 million to WFP’s relief efforts in Ethiopia following months of deadly violence.
As the son of Ethiopian immigrants to Canada, the conflict deeply affected him, he has said, and ultimately this moved him to deepen his relationship with WFP.
“Our partnership is an authentic extension of all our efforts and intentions to help those in need and bring an end to so much suffering,” said The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye).
WFP Executive Director David Beasley said: “We are thrilled to welcome The Weeknd to the WFP family. His compassion and commitment to helping the world’s hungriest people is truly inspirational.”
Beasley added: “Every night, 811 million people go to bed hungry, and another 270 million are marching toward starvation. This is just not right and we have got to speak out and act today to save lives. We need everyone to come join our movement to end hunger – it is all-hands on deck to avoid a global catastrophe.”
The Weeknd, known for hits such as ‘Starboy’ and ‘Take My Breath’, joins an international roster of ambassadors including Kate Hudson and Michael Kors, who lend their voices to support WFP’s mission to end hunger. The organization provides lifesaving food assistance to more than 100 million people in 80 countries.
WFP USA chief Barron Segar said: “Whether he is performing or speaking out about global hunger, The Weeknd’s voice is powerful and inspiring, only matched by his dedication to helping people around the globe. We are honoured that he has joined our mission. He will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of humanitarians in the fight to ensure no man, woman or child goes to bed hungry.”
WFP said via a press release: “The continuous record-breaking of charts, sales and streams, headlining the biggest festivals and stadiums in the world including this year’s Super Bowl, and his ever-mysterious public persona, have combined to establish The Weeknd as one of the most compelling and significant artists of the 21st century.”
Source: World Food Programme