*While the Oscars attracted Hollywood’s elite on Sunday, a benefit in Flint, Michigan for residents affected by the city’s lead-contaminated water crisis also drew some big names – all lending a hand to raise awareness as well as money toward the cause.
The show’s brainchild, director Ryan Coogler, joined actor Jesse Williams and about a dozen others to open the #JusticeForFlint event by talking about the water crisis and thanking the crowd, reports the AP. The evening included performances by Janelle Monae and Stevie Wonder.
None of the opening speakers mentioned the Academy Awards or the uproar over the lack of diversity of this year’s nominees. Coogler’s “Creed” had been the favorite to win the best supporting actor Oscar for Sylvester Stallone’s reprise of his iconic Rocky character. It was the sole nomination for the critically acclaimed film, which many saw as yet another example of how the film academy is out of step with today’s audiences.
Comedian Hannibal Buress hosted the free, livestreamed show. He joked that the woman who checked him in at his hotel in Flint didn’t even mention the crisis, which has left Flint residents unable to drink unfiltered tap water.