The Weeknd aka Abel Tesfaye is popular for his dark and gritty songs but there is more to the mysterious popstar than his music and public persona. He has been backing political issues and donating vast sums to charitable causes including racial justice groups like Black Lives Matter, COVID-19 relief, and maternal health.
Last year, The Weeknd donated about $2.15 million to varied causes including racial justice groups National Bail Out and Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Fund. Survivors of the explosions in Lebanon received $300,000 from his donation to Global Aid. Frontline health workers in the city of Scarborough and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund received $1 million. His TikTok fundraiser for the Equal Justice Initiative raised $350,000.
His philanthropy isn’t recent. The Weeknd has been doing charity since he started performing, or perhaps long before. In 2016, he posted a powerful message on Twitter and then donated $250,000 to the Black Lives Matter Movement. His tweet came after two Black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were shot and killed by the police in 2016.
The singer stays true to his Ethiopian routes. Some of his songs are inspired by Ethiopian poetry and sounds. Tesfaye is Ethiopian-Canadian, which explains his $50,000 donation to the University of Toronto to start a course in Ethiopic Studies. He also donated $50,000 to the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Toronto.
Collaborations with top acts like Daft Punk and Ariana Grande spill over into his philanthropy. French Montana is a rapper and global influencer who also happens to be The Weeknd’s friend. Montana’s trip to Uganda four years back ended up starting a movement there. He observed how poor access to healthcare was affecting the farmers and rural people in Uganda. The Wicked Games singer showed him major support, donating $100,000 to help upgrade a clinic, Suubi Health Center, for the local population.
Suubi Health Centre addresses this imbalance on a small scale. Suubi also specializes in helping mothers give birth. By helping the health centre, The Weeknd ensured that mothers in the area are able to get quality treatment before, during, and after birth.