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From John Legend to Jennifer Hudson: 6 of Music's Top Charity Performers

John Legend
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation

John Legend performs on stage at the Fourth Annual Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala at Dodger Stadium on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Leona Lewis, Pharrell Williams and Chloe x Halle also are among the singers who often step up to benefit a cause.

Each year, musical artists from all genres use their voices to give back and show support for causes that range from animal rights to hunger, mental illness, veterans and the homeless. The late Aretha Franklin performed at many events during her musical career to demonstrate her dedication to philanthropy, from 2003's Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy party, where she sang with Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake, to Elton John’s 25th anniversary AIDS Foundation gala in 2017, when she sang “I Say a Little Prayer."

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, whose recent performances have supported disadvantaged youth, disaster relief, human rights, education and poverty, is often cited as an industry stalwart. (Martin is set to perform in the South of France at Midsummer Party for Elton John's AIDS Foundation on July 24, 2019.) But who really are the leading voices in charitable shows in recent years? Here, after a deep dive into Hollywood's most visible charities, are the top performers who contributed their services most often over the last two years.


Jennifer Hudson

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Jennifer Hudson performs onstage during the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Jay-Z on Jan. 27, 2018 in New York City. 

The Oscar winner has performed twice at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala, which honors a musical artist for philanthropic endeavors, in 2017 at L.A.’s Beverly Hilton hotel and in 2018 at Sheraton New York Times Square. Also in 2018, she graced the stage at will.i.am's i.am. angel Foundation Trans4m Gala that benefits college scholarships and STEM education; wowed the audience during the 42nd annual Saban Community fundraiser, which promotes access to healthcare; and performed at the ACLU SoCal Benefit to defend constitutional rights.

CHARITY COUNT: 5


John Legend

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation
John Legend performs on stage at the Fourth Annual Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala at Dodger Stadium on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles.

In 2018, Legend sang at Dodger Stadium for the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala, raising nearly $2.2 million to revive baseball in inner cities. That same year he performed at NYC’s Carnegie Hall for the Good + Foundation’s “An Evening of Comedy + Music” benefit to support families in poverty. This January, Legend worked the 12th annual Art of Elysium Heaven Gala, which benefits artists, and in May, he celebrated efforts to end hunger at NYC’s Cipriani 42nd Street for City Harvest’s 35th anniversary gala, raising $4 million to provide 14 million meals to New Yorkers.

CHARITY COUNT: 4


Leona Lewis

Denise Truscello/Getty Images 
Leona Lewis performs during the 23rd annual Keep Memory Alive 'Power of Love Gala' benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 16, 2019 in Las Vegas.