Queen Latifah, Gabrielle Union Help Raise Funds for the American Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative


Hosted by Queen Latifah and featuring appearances by Gabrielle Union and a performance by Katharine McPhee-Foster, the American Lung Association streamed its first-ever live digital fundraising event, #Act4Impact, on Saturday (Sept. 26).

At the top of the event, Queen Latifah expressed how the novel coronavirus pandemic “has made glaringly clear the startling inequities in our nation and spotlighted the human toll they have had on our most vulnerable populations.” She added the event’s emphasis on aiding those most at risk by the virus — Black, Latinx and indigenous communities.

Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade appeared in their home to partake in the #lungflexchallenge, displaying how much one can do with just one breath — in their case, how much they could dance. Union put on some dance moves for about 15 seconds, with Wayne going just a few seconds more, making the actress remind viewers her husband does happen to be a professional athlete with a strong lung capacity. The two encouraged viewers to also participate in the challenge on social media and donate to #Act4Impact.

Katherine McPhee sang a heartfelt rendition of “The Prayer,” accompanied by husband David Foster on piano. The singer dedicated her performance to frontline and essential workers “who have saved so many lives, touched so many hearts, and kept our world going during this impossible moment.”

The two-hour benefit also brought forth scientists, healthcare workers and people impacted by COVID-19 to spread awareness on the ongoing healthcare disparities that continue to affect marginalized communities during this pandemic.

Latifah held one panel alongside Dr. Juanita Mora, an allergist/immunologist at the Chicago Allergy Center, Dr. Cedric “Jamie” Rutland, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California Riverside, and Dr. Sumita Khatri, director of the Asthma Center at the Cleveland Clinic. The trio touched on issues impacting marginalized communities, from language barriers with healthcare providers to a lack of resources to ensure safety for themselves and loved ones, as well as evolving solutions, such as telemedicine that offers increased accessibility for those who cannot physically get to a doctor’s office.

Dr. Mora shared her personal story of wanting to keep the Chicago Allergy Center open as other healthcare locations closed at the start, knowing the lack of options the Latinx community faces being a first-generation Mexican-American. When asked by Latifah why it was so pertinent to do so, Dr. Mora said she thought at the time, “This could be my family… I can’t turn my back on my family. I have to help guide them.”

#Act4Impact also featured musical performances, comedy sketches, and more entertainment from stars including Common, Laura Dern, Jimmy Fallon, Vivica A. Fox, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Funds raised from the event support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative and its efforts to provide free education and cloth masks to those in need, protect public health by advocating for COVID-19 and flu vaccines in underserved communities of color, and prevent future outbreaks by investing in respiratory virus research. To learn more about the American Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, their #Act4Impact event, or to make a donation visit lung.org/act4impact.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.



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