Hollywood Steps Up and Out in Support of Orlando Tragedy Victims

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will.i.am, Jessie J and Stevie Wonder attend onePULSE: A Benefit for Orlando at NeueHouse Hollywood
will.i.am, Jessie J and Stevie Wonder attend onePULSE: A Benefit for Orlando at NeueHouse Hollywood

Photo Credit: Dan Steinberg/Invision for onePulse Foundation/AP Images

Friday evening was already going to be a special night in Hollywood, as actors, musicians and advocates came together at the onePULSE Foundation’s benefit at NeueHouse in support of the victims of the tragedy in Orlando. But when Stevie Wonder took the stage for a surprise performance of More Than a Love Song, it was hard not to have chills.

The 25-time Grammy Award winner followed his performance by speaking on the power of both love and hate. “By remembering that every time we hate someone, we’re also hating God, Allah, or whatever your religion may be, because I believe that we all must come together to put an end to this. Hate means more hate, but love plus love is the key,” he said.

Caitlyn Jenner, left, and Barbara Poma
Caitlyn Jenner, left, and Barbara Poma

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/Invision for onePulse Foundation/AP Images

Wonder’s set was one of many incredible experiences at the benefit: there were additional performances by Jessie J, and LP; special remarks by Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma, will.i.am, and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti; and a special video message from presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Host Lance Bass started the evening with some heartfelt remarks and reminisced on the nights he used to dance the night away at Pulse. “I choose hope. Let us choose hope tonight and every night,” said Bass. “Pulse was a place where you could dance freely and safely without the fear of being judged.”

Arielle Kebbel, left, and Torrey DeVitto
Arielle Kebbel and Torrey DeVitto

Photo Credit: Dan Steinberg/Invision for onePulse Foundation/AP Images

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized the similarities between the two great cities of Orlando and Los Angeles. “In our cities, we don’t care where you come from, the color of your skin, who you worship, or who you love. We were all attacked because we all belong to this country where we are free to be who we are.”

A special video message from Democrat presidential candidate Clinton played, expressing her strong stance for the LGBTQ community and against gun violence. “We can’t ever let hate and violence break our spirit … Together we will fight for the right of every American to live freely, openly, and without fear no matter what you look like, where you come from, or who you love. We will take commonsense steps to reduce gun violence and do everything we can to make sure what happened in Orlando doesn’t ever happen again. I’m proud to stand with the LGBTQ community.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at onePULSE: A Benefit
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks onstage

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/Invision for onePulse Foundation/AP Images

The room then stood in complete silence as will.i.am went off script and spoke to guests from his heart to remind them how crucial it is that although painful, we must not forget. “It’s important for us who chose to be here to continue to not forget. We cannot forget because the families who lost loved ones, it happened just yesterday to them.”

Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma, joined by some of the survivors, remembered the night of the tragedy but stressed how overwhelmed she was with the outpour of support. “It wasn’t until the aftermath of the tragedy that I realized many of our goals had not only been reached, but also exceeded beyond my expectations. I was overwhelmed by the thousands of Pulse stories people around the world shared with me: the love stories, the funny stories, and the life-changing coming-out stories.”

Matt Bomer )
Matt Bomer

Photo Credit: Dan Steinberg/Invision for onePulse Foundation/AP Images

Attendees included Caitlyn Jenner, Matt Bomer, JC Chasez, Quinton Aaron, Torrey DeVitto, Arielle Kebbel, Sophie Watts, Natasha Rubin, Ashley Bell, Nicholas Littlemore, and Gigi Rose Gray.

Via partners CharityBuzz, Prizeo, and Omaze, those who want to support the initiative beyond the text-to-donate campaign can bid on one-a-kind experiences donated by supporters who include Mark Cuban, Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres, Cyndi Lauper, Sir Richard Branson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, LP, Sarah Paulson, Robbie Rogers and many others.

will.i.am, Caitlyn Jenner and Lance Bass attend onePULSE: A Benefit for Orlando at NeueHouse Hollywood on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision for onePulse Foundation/AP Images)
will.i.am, Caitlyn Jenner and Lance Bass

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/Invision for onePulse Foundation/AP Images)

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