“I’d like to think that anybody, not just Oklahomans, who was in a position to react that quickly would have done the same thing,” Blake Shelton says.
The country star is reflecting on “Healing in the Heartland,” a benefit concert that aired May 29 on NBC, just nine days after a mile-wide tornado devastated the singer’s home state of Oklahoma.
The hour-long event helped raise more than $6 million for the United Way of Central Oklahoma to aid victims affected by the tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area. Shelton hosted and performed at the concert, which was speedily organized in part due to his side gig as a coach on “The Voice.”
“We worked well together–they wanted to jump onboard and I was able to call some buddies. It was seriously a group effort,” Shelton says on a break from rehearsals for the June 3 live taping.
Held at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, the concert hosted an eclectic mix of performers, ranging from country acts Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker and Rascal Flatts to Oklahoma native Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Usher, who joined his fellow “Voice” coach for a duet of Michael Buble’s “Home.” Additional appearances during the televised event included Garth Brooks, NASCAR racer Jimmie Johnson and NBC late-night hosts Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon.
Shelton will continue to benefit Oklahoma during the next few months as the spokesman for Pepsi’s Iconic Summer campaign. From May 26 to Aug. 31, Pepsi will donate $1 to charitable organizations (including a nonprofit benefiting victims in the Oklahoma City area) for every photo that is submitted to pepsi.com/iconicsummermoments. Shelton was also one of the artists who contributed exclusive memorabilia and experiences to eBay Giving Works for a charity auction, also benefiting the United Way of Central Oklahoma.
The United Way is taking ongoing donations. To give $10, text “rebuild” to 52000. For more information, call 800-890-4999 or go to facebook.com/unitedway.