Grammy award-winning pop star The Weeknd has donated $1M to assist in food aid to his currently war-torn home country Ethiopia through the UN World Food Program.
The singer/songwriter announced on his Instagram and Twitter pages saying, “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. I will be donating $1M to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Program and encourage those who can to please give as well.”
The singer was born Abel Tesfaye in Canada to Ethiopian immigrant parents, Makkonen and Samra Tesfaye.
Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed, raped, and abused during the course of Ethiopia’s five-month-old conflict. According to a report on Aljezeera , victims blame the massacres on fighters belonging to the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
The report noted the “OLA is the breakaway armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which was founded in the 1970s to fight for the self-determination of ethnic Oromos. In 2018, promises of political reform by then-newly appointed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed saw the OLF decriminalized and permitted to join party politics. But negotiations with the armed wing eventually soured, and the OLA splintered from the political organization and resumed fighting.”
This is not the first time The Weeknd has donated to worthy causes though. In 2020, he made a series of major donations to different causes: $1M for Coronavirus relief, $500,000 to organizations fighting racial inequality following George Floyd’s killing in May 2020, and $300,000 for victims of the port explosion in Beirut that killed over 200 people.
In addition to that, he also partnered with TikTok in on a livestream that raised over $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative through selling limited merchandise.