April 13, 2021

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‘My heart breaks for my people’: The Weeknd donates $1 million to Ethiopian relief efforts

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The Weeknd announced he is donating $1 million to relief efforts in Ethiopia amid the ongoing conflict in the African country.

“My heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging from small children to the elderly are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction,” the Super Bowl half-time singer, 31, wrote on Instagram on Sunday. “I will be donating $1 million to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Program and encourage those who can to please give as well.”

The Weeknd, who was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye in Canada, is the son of Ethiopian immigrants Makkonen and Samra Tesfaye.

The Weeknd:Delivers a charismatic Super Bowl halftime show, but he was no Beyoncé or Prince

The Weeknd performs at the February 2021 halftime show at Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium.

The conflict in Ethiopia began in November after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) captured military bases in the northern Ethiopian region, prompting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to order a military offensive to oust the group, according to the BBC.

Thousands of civilians have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since the unrest began. 

Last month, The New York Times revealed a stark, internal U.S. government report that stated Ethiopian officials and allied militia fighters are “leading a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing” in the Tigray region.

In June 2020, The Weeknd donated $1 million to COVID-19 relief, according to Billboard, with $500,000 going to the charity MusiCares and the other half to front line hospital workers of the Scarborough Health Network.

Earlier that month, the 31-year-old artist also gave $500,000 to nonprofit organizations committed to racial equality. 

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