There’s a reason we call her Queen Bey. Beyoncé closed last night’s Chime for Change concert in style, delighting her 50,000 fans with a chorus of hits, including her appropriately named anthems Single Ladies and Survivor.
The master of empowering pop had the crowds enraptured from the moment she stepped on stage, singing the late Etta James’s soulful hit, At Last, before breaking into her Destiny’s Child survival anthem. And while her audience was busy pumping their fists and belting out lyrics, she brought husband Jay Z on stage to perform his Crazy in Love rap – sending the crowd into a frenzy.
But Beyoncé was just one of a string of high profile stars to step out in aid of women around the world last night, championing their cause for education, justice and health. Chime for Change – founded by Knowles, actress Salma Hayek and Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini – will fund at least 200 not-for-profit organisations supporting women’s rights following yesterday’s concert which was beamed to an estimated audience of one billion worldwide.
And while the Single Ladies singer’s 45-minute set stole the end of the show, her fellow performers also rocked the London venue. Jennifer Lopez – who recently courted controversy with her racy performance on Britain’s Got Talent – silenced her critics with a showstopping medley of her greatest hits, and was joined on stage by Mary J. Blige, while Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding also roused the masses with their energetic deliveries.
Florence Welch’s ethereal performance of Dog Days are Over, You’ve Got the Love and her Gatsby theme Over the Love echoed around the venue after her introduction by actress Blake Lively. The Gossip Girl starlet was joined by a who’s who of Hollywood, including James Franco, Jessica Chastain, Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana and co-founder Hayek, all speaking out in favour of women.
Madonna also took her turn on the mic to encourage viewers to join her own revolution. “We cannot change this world, nor begin to treat each other with human dignity, without an education,” she announced to the stadium. “Let tonight be the beginning of this revolution because education is not a luxury it is a basic human right.”
The event – which shined a light on female issues including sex trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse and adult illiteracy through a series of videos and speeches – raised a reported £2.6 million from ticket sales alone and, 100 years to the day after Emily Davison martyred herself at the Epsom Derby, made sure women’s rights made headlines once again.
Watch highlights of last night’s Chime for Change concert on BBC iPlayer and donate through the Chime for Change website