Both singer Hussain Al Jassmi and Emirati doctors appeared in the huge global One World Together at Home concert.
Held on April 18 and organised by both Global Citizen and the World Health Organisation, the epic affair saw Al Jassmi join dozens of international artists performing their hits, including Beyoncé, Elton John and Paul McCartney.
Early reports say that $128 million (Dh470 million) was raised to help fight Covid-19 from the effort, and more than 17 million people watched at least part of the eight-hour-long video.
Streamed online on a range of social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube, and broadcast locally on Dubai TV, the event paid tribute to medical staff on the frontline of the battle against the Coronavirus.
The concert was screened in two parts. The first was the full six hour show, which began from 10pm UAE time. This was followed by a condensed two-hour version of performances, which began at 4am UAE time on April 19.
Al Jassmi and Emirati doctors highlight the UAE's contribution
Al Jassmi was one of the first batch of performances of the night, and he was in good company too: he appeared at 10.45pm (you can catch the performance by scrolling to minute 46 of the YouTube Video) following short sets by former One Direction member Niall Horan and pop-star Rita Ora.
Al Jassmi wore a white kandoura as he took to the piano to play a two song medley of Bahebek Wahashtini and Mohem Jedan.
Before his set Al Jassmi spoke about the UAE's effort in combating the pandemic.
“The Emirates has provided aid to more than 15 countries around the world through ongoing medical and humanitarian aid,” he said. “I'm proud to be an Emirati and I hope the dark cloud hovering over us will end soon, so we can meet again and go back to our regular encounters, through concerts and social visits.”
More Emiratis appeared on screen not long after. Following Kesha's fireside rendition of Rainbow, Ajlan Al Zaki from Stanford University in California and obstetrician and gynecologist Aisha Al Mundhiri from the Claude Bernard University Hospital in Paris, discussed their respective experiences dealing with Covid-19.
“As I saw my fellow Emiratis go back home, I knew that being in the UAE would be the safest place for my family and myself. However, I was torn because I simply couldn't abandon my patients and medical colleagues during this time when doctors are needed the most,” said Dr Al Zaki.
“I knew that this is a sacrifice that I would have to make at some point in my career when I became a doctor and took the Hippocratic Oath.”
Dr Al Mundhiri has also decided to remain in Paris to treat patients and assist colleagues. “Because this is part of our values in medicine, which is to serve humanity,” she said.
Hassan Akkad celebrates the role of migrants in the battle against Covid-19
Also appearing on the broadcast was Syrian filmmaker and former Dubai resident Hassan Akkad. He recently created a stir online after an April 7 tweet of himself in protective gear while on shift as a cleaner at London's Whipps Cross Hospital attracted close to 100,000 likes.
In his video message, as part of One World Together at Home, Akkad stressed the important role migrants are playing during the course of the pandemic.
“I am a documentary filmmaker, but I decided to put that on hold when the pandemic hit and help. I did a Google search and found out that my local hospital was desperate for cleaners,” he said.
“We work long hours disinfecting and cleaning every inch of Covid wards. I work with Nigerians, people from the Caribbean, the Polish and Spanish, British and there’s me, a Syrian. We are all working together around the clock to fight this pandemic.”
Bollywood stars urge more action from leaders to help refugees
The event also featured appearances from Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra.
Khan urged world leaders and influential organisations to play a bigger role in halting the spread of the pandemic, while Chopra highlighted the plight of refugees stuck in ill-equipped camps around the world.
“I have witnessed first-hand the overcrowded and unliveable conditions in refugee camps,” Chopra said, “They need basic sanitation, clean food and clean water to be able to fight the virus.”
Bollywood singer and composer Vishal Mishra was also on hand with a stirring performance of his latest single Aaj Bhi. He stressed the need to stay home as a health precaution against the pandemic.
“There was a friend of mine who was not taking these instructions given by the World Health Organisation very seriously and he went down to pick up some grocery items and guess what? He tested positive for Covid-19,” he said.
“So you need to take all these instructions seriously. Please stay home, be safe and take care of your families. You are like soldiers, we will fight this battle and we will win soon.”
Here's a particularly star studded moment from the concert: