Chart-topper and popular singer, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye A.K.A, ‘The Weeknd’ has committed to a $1 million donation to Ethiopia amid the Tigray crisis.
The Weeknd is part Ethiopian heritage, telling Okay Africa about his grandmother who would take him to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Canada for Sunday service.
“The feeling in my music and in my voice is very Ethiopian and very African and much more powerful than anything, technically. There are songs like “Gone” where I don’t even know what I’m saying—I let my voice do all the talking. I’ll probably do an album like that one day where it’s not lyrics at all, just melodies and great production. Maybe the next one, I don’t know. That’s the Ethiopian side of me.”
He has worn his heritage proudly, citing the influence of his vocal style to Ethiopian singer Aster Aweke and revealing that his first language is Amharic. The Afro-Asiatic language is the spoken first language in major cities and towns of Ethiopia.
“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,” The Weeknd wrote on Instagram.
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His $1 million donation will be used to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Programme.
Senseless fighting between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) began in November 2020, leaving millions destitute.
Feature image: The Weeknd IG