The Weeknd has announced a one-million-dollar donation to Ethiopian relief efforts in the wake of the country’s continuing dispute between the government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray region.
There are more accounts of atrocities in the war, such as massacres and rapes, and there is growing concern about a shortage of food and medical care in Tigray, an area with a population of over a million people.
The Grammy-winning singer, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, has pledged his contribution to the UN World Food Programme’s relief efforts.
“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,” he wrote on Instagram. “I will be donating $1 million to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Program and encourage those who can to please give as well.”
This generous donation will help the United Nations World Food Programme increase emergency food aid to up to 2 million people in the next six months. So far, the humanitarian organization has distributed maize, rice, and vegetable oil to 60,000 people in towns in the region’s eastern and southern regions. In addition to providing emergency food assistance in Tigray, the United Nations World Food Programme has begun providing nutrition assistance to poor pregnant or breastfeeding women and children in the area, with a target population of 875,000 people. In addition, the United Nations World Food Programme has distributed three rounds of monthly food rations in the two accessible and operational refugee camps in Tigray.
In 2020, he made a number of large contributions to various causes, including $1 million for coronavirus relief, $500,000 for social injustice organizations, and $300,000 for victims of the Beirut port explosion.
After Hours, his most recent release, was a worldwide hit. With 2.2 million chart sales, the album’s lead single, Flashing Lights, became the first song in history to spend a year in the US Top 10 and was the biggest song of the year in the UK (a figure drawn from streaming data combined with digital sales). At this year’s Super Bowl half-time show, he played it as well as other songs.
Tesfaye has joined the growing trend of musicians selling their work as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are digital assets with unique ownership certification. He made $2.2 million from the selling of the NFTs in the last few days, including a $490,000 sale of an unreleased album and music video to a single owner. Audiovisual artworks and sketches in limited editions sold for $100 to $42,069 at set prices or in auction bids.