ADDIS ABABA — Grammy award-winning artist The Weeknd is stepping up to help Ethiopians amid violence in the country.
The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, on Sunday said that he will donate $1 million to Ethiopian relief efforts through the UN World Food Programme.
The singer announced his donation via Instagram on Sunday morning and encouraged others to give, too.
“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 Weeknd wrote.
“I will be donating $1 million to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Programme and encourage those who can to please give as well.”
Both of The Weeknd’s parents immigrated to Canada from Ethiopia, and The Weeknd grew up speaking Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.
This is not the first time The Weeknd has aided a humanitarian cause. In June 2020, he donated $1 million to COVID-19 relief, giving $500,000 each to MusiCares and the front-line hospital workers of Scarborough Health Network in his hometown.
That same month, he gave another $500,000 to the racial justice causes Black Lives Matter, National Bailout and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights camp. In August 2020, The Weeknd also donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon to help those affected by the Beirut explosion.