The Sound of Change Live concert, held at London’s Twickenham Stadium on June 1, was both noble and mysterious.
With the aim of aiding Chime For Change: a global campaign for improved education, health and justice for women and girls worldwide, which was co-founded by Frida Giannini, Creative Director of Gucci, Salma Hayek Pinault and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, the lineup of performers included Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Haim, Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora, Timbaland, Laura Pausini, and, of course, headliner Beyonce.
But the star-studded guest list didn’t end there. Madonna introduced Emmy- and Oscar-winning Pakistani documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. Also on hand to plead for the cause were Blake Lively, James Franco, Jessica Chastain, Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana, Jada Pinkett Smith and more.
With some 50,000 in attendance, the acts delivered a string of hits in between calls for audience members to head to Facebook and find a cause to support.
Said Madonna: ‘’ …I invite you to join my revolution of love…What happens when we educate girls? We empower them! They have jobs they have opportunities. They know their rights! They have the ability to defend themselves! Support their families, take care of their health and be an integral productive part of the human race. Now,to most people out there, this sounds like ‘normal’ life right? We’ve been enjoying these privileges for hundreds of years. But … In many places, women of all ages are risking their lives to make sure ‘other’ girls are given a chance to read and write. They get shot for writing blogs. They have acid thrown in their faces for wanting to go to school. They are assassinated for being school teachers. I do not accept this, and neither should you!”
With that rousing oration, 25-year-old Pakistani education activist Humaira Bachal took the stage, to which Madonna ended by saying, “Lets help Humaira build a better school in Pakistan. How about this: You build the 1st floor and I’ll build the rest.”
The show continued with several unexpected collaborations. Jennifer Lopez, after performing a set complete with costume changes, special effects and dancers which included her current single, “Live It Up,” followed by “Get Right,” “Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” “Jenny From The Block” and “Hold It Don’t Drop It,” pulled out Mary J. Blige for a cover of the “Come Together.” She closed her set with “On The Floor,” releasing shooting cannons of white confetti up in the air as she exited the stage.
The top-billed Beyonce and her “powerful magical voice” was introduced by Salma Hayek. Performing a 45-minute set bathed in gold, black and silver, the headliner pulled off one final surprise in the middle of “Crazy In Love:” bringing out her husband, rapper Jay-Z.
“It ain’t over!” she cautioned before kicking into “Single Ladies.” Beyonce ended her set with a message: ‘’I want to be my foot prints in the sands of time,” she said. “I moved. I loved. … l’ve done everything I’ve wanted… I will leave my mark so everyone will know.’’
With that, an acapella rendition of “I Will Always Love You” followed by “Halo” closed out the night in what was a fittingly unifying moment that proved the power of the arts.