Ken Jeong Speaks to Impact of COVID-19: "This Is a Disease of Humanity"

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Ken Jeong

The actor, comedian and licensed physician was one of many who appeared at the Global Goal virtual event, which raised $6.9 billion and called on people worldwide to use their voices to tackle issues and drive change.

International advocacy organization Global Citizen hosted a summit and concert on Saturday that called on the community to use their voices to tackle global injustices and drive lasting change.

Hosted by Katie Couric, Mallika Kapur, Morgan Radford, Isha Sesay and Keir Simmons, the Global Goal: Unite for Our Future summit featured world leaders, scientists and philanthropists engaging in proactive panel discussions and interviews about tests, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly spoke of Canada's commitment to working with countries around the world to ensure that everyone has access to testing, especially in vulnerable populations. "None of us have been spared by the impacts of COVID-19," he said. 

Actor, comedian and licensed physician Ken Jeong emphasized that testing and masks are "the way to go" globally, in all areas of work — not just entertainment — and especially as economies begin to consciously reopen. "This is a disease of humanity right now, this is affecting all of us," he said. Jeong also emphasized that everyone is susceptible to the virus and there's still so much we still don't know about the disease. "[It's] incumbent upon us to not take anything for granted."

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau also appeared.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hosted the concert afterward, which aired in 180 countries and resulted in a total of $6.9 billion pledged from governments, the private sector and foundations to go toward combatting the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable and disadvantaged communities around the world. 

The concert included performances from artists such as Justin Bieber and Quavo, Miley Cyrus — who performed The Beatles' "Help!" in an empty stadium — Shakira, Lin Manuel-Miranda, and Usher. Coldplay dedicated their performance of "Paradise" to Elijah McClain, a young black man killed by police last year in Colorado.

Guest appearances included David Beckham, Hugh Jackman, Diane Kruger, Charlize Theron, Queer Eye's food expert Antoni Porowski, Chris Rock, Naomi Campbell, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, Olivia Colman and more.

Following Jennifer Hudson's performance at the top of the show, Johnson addressed the systematic racism that exists in American culture and the vulnerable communities that are most at risk when economies fail. "Equality is a fundamental right that we cannot allow to be dictated by income or race," he said.

Performances were intercut with educational messages related to COVID-19, such as definitions of "contact tracing" and "antibody." Guests also appeared to speak about the ongoing response to the virus, including Melinda Gates on behalf of her philanthropy foundation.

Kruger said that "COVID-19 doesn't respect borders" and that better health systems need to be built around the world. 

Kerry Washington acknowledged the "major moment in history" and emphasized that people must work together to "build a better life for all children everywhere." She said that she wants to be able to tell her children that she "answered the call" in the fight for liberation, freedom and equality.

View the concert below.