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The Weeknd says he is donating $1 million toward Ethiopian relief efforts

The Weeknd says he is donating $1 million toward Ethiopian relief efforts

Grammy award-winning artist The Weeknd is stepping up to help Ethiopians amid violence in the country.

The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, on Sunday said that he will donate $1 million to Ethiopian relief efforts through the UN World Food Programme.

Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed, raped and abused during the course of Ethiopia’s five-month-old conflict.

A recent CNN investigation found that men wearing Ethiopian army uniforms executed unarmed men in Tigray. A BBC-led investigation also published Thursday corroborated the same massacre near Mahibere Dego, a mountainous area of central Tigray.

On Friday, Ethiopia’s government dismissed evidence of these claims.

“My heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging from small children to the elderly are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction,” The Weeknd, whose parents are from Ethiopia, said on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“I will be donating $1 million to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Programme and encourage those who can to please give as well.”

The violence in Ethiopia has gone on since November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered attacks on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after Ahmed alleged that TPLF had attacked a federal military base.

The UN announced on March 25 that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission would launch a joint investigation into possible crimes.

The UN World Food Programme stated that the “outbreak of conflict coincided with (Ethiopia’s) peak harvest season, meaning employment and incomes were lost, markets were disrupted, food prices rose, and access to cash and fuel became very difficult.” The Ethiopian government estimated that 4.5 million people need “life-saving” assistance through late this year, the UN reported.

This isn’t the first time The Weeknd has contributed to a cause.

The singer donated $300,000 to the global Aid for Lebanon campaign last August to help victims of an explosion in Beirut that killed over 200 people, his manager announced on social media.

Following George Floyd’s killing last May, The Weeknd also donated $500,000 to racial justice groups: the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp and the National Bail Out Collective.

He also partnered with TikTok in an August 7 livestream that raised over $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative through selling limited merchandise.

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‘The Talk’ returns with Sheryl Underwood remarks and an episode on race

“The Talk” returned Monday by jumping right into a conversation about race.

It was the first new episode since cohost Sharon Osbourne left the CBS daytime talk show in the wake of a heated discussion she had with fellow cohost Sheryl Underwood over Osbourne’s support of her friend, Piers Morgan.

Underwood questioned that support after Morgan’s negative comments following Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview with media mogul Oprah Winfrey were criticized as being rooted in racism.

Underwood opened Monday’s episode by explaining that it was the panel’s first time in studio since the incident with Osbourne and her exit from the show.

“We need to process the events of that day and what’s happened since so we can get to the healing,” Underwood said. “Over the next hour we will honestly discuss what occurred and explore some of our feelings. And we’ll also show you how anyone can become more comfortable with discussing important issues and having difficult conversations.”

The show ended up going on a brief hiatus after the debate and allegations surfaced via an article by journalist Yashar Ali that Osbourne used racist and homophobic language while speaking about her former colleagues on the CBS talk show.

Ali cited former “Talk” co-host Leah Remini, who spoke on the record in the piece, as well as a number of unnamed sources.

CNN has not independently verified the claims. A spokesperson for Remini confirmed the accuracy of her statements as reported by Ali and declined further comment when contacted by CNN.

Osbourne tweeted an apology for the blowup with Underwood and denied that allegations raised in Ali’s reporting in a statement from her spokesperson, Howard Bragman.

“The only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host,” he said in a statement to CNN. “For 11 years Sharon has been kind, collegial and friendly with her hosts as evidenced by throwing them parties, inviting them to her home in the UK and other gestures of kindness too many to name. Sharon is disappointed but unfazed and hardly surprised by the lies, the recasting of history and the bitterness coming out at this moment.”

Osbourne was the only remaining original cast member of “The Talk,” which debuted in 2010.

During Monday’s episode, Underwood and her fellow cohosts Carrie Ann Inaba, Amanda Kloots and Elaine Welteroth welcomed expert on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice Dr. Donald E. Grant to offer advice on discussing issues of race and nationally acclaimed trauma therapist and life coach Dr. Anita Phillips, who shared expertise on how to heal after a painful event or conversation.

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