Stevie Wonder Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to the UN

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom


Stevie Wonder Performs at the United Nations

Stevie Wonder Performs at the United Nations

It’s not every day that the legendary singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and activist we all know as Stevie Wonder performs a three-hour tribute concert for your birthday. UN Messenger of Peace Stevie Wonder did just that in October at the United Nations Day Concert presented by BET. The concert will premiere on Centric this Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. and on BET on March 3 at 11a.m. ET/PT with special performances by Sting, Wyclef Jean, Doug E. Fresh, Estelle, Janelle Monae, Bebe Winans, Jasmine Cruz, Stephanie Mills, Valerie Simpson, and the WonderGirls.

United Nations Day commemorates the UN’s founding on October 24, 1945, and Wonder made it a priority to deliver a message of peace and hope throughout the evening. Scanning the audience in the General Assembly Hall there were hundreds of UN diplomats and notables including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Wonder thanked BET and Centric for their support and acknowledged BET President and CEO, Debra Lee and Paxton Baker, EVP and General Manager of Centric for making the concert possible. Reflecting on the concert Wonder turned to the audience and said, “This is one of the most exciting nights of my life.”

Stevie Wonder is not only a 22-time Grammy winner but a champion for peace, dedicating his life to philanthropy and activism. Notable efforts include his campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday, his advocacy against apartheid in South Africa, and his work to encourage those living with disabilities around the world.

BET President and CEO, Debra Lee in her remarks recognized Wonder for his humanitarian work and musical genius. She went on to say, “Stevie Wonder is a prime example that one person can make a difference.” That point was so movingly demonstrated when a young blind boy named Emmanuelle joined Wonder onstage to tell him in person what an inspiration and a role model he is in his life. An emotional Wonder hugged Emmanuel and gave him his harmonica, a gesture that brought a stirring round of applause from the audience.

This is just one highlight from the program — you don’t want to miss any of Stevie Wonder’s memorable performances, especially the all-star rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song that had everyone dancing in the aisles.

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