Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx and more stars took the time to honour essential workers amid the coronavirus pandemic in Harry Connick Jr.’s CBS special, “United We Sing: A Grammy Tribute to the Unsung Heroes”, on Sunday.
Connick began the show by acknowledging that it was filmed prior to the movement for racial justice across America and around the world in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd.
“Just so you know, this special was filmed a few weeks ago and since that time our world has changed,” Connick said during the special. “Our focus has broadened from the coronavirus to include a painful dialogue about racism in America.”
The special, which was filmed in part with the help of Connick’s 24-year-old daughter, Georgia, featured the New Orleans native traveling around his hometown to thank essential workers with the help of some celebrity pals.
One such A-lister was Pitt, who spoke with a shocked sanitation worker named Darnell Rudolph.
“Man, I love the work you’ve done after Katrina,” Rudolph told Pitt of the 2005 hurricane that destroyed much of New Orleans.
“That’s so appreciated, I’ve got such a love for that city, and we so appreciate what you’re doing,” Pitt told him before asking about his family.
Brad Pitt on United we Sing Grammy tribute to The Unsung Hero’s. Property of CBS pic.twitter.com/LTBwzRx7o9
— Simply Brad (@SimplyBradCom) June 22, 2020
ET’s Rachel Smith spoke with Connick last week prior to the special airing, where he talked about the exchange between Pitt and Rudolph.
“There was this one guy who’s a sanitation worker in New Orleans. We talked to him and he said, ‘Why are you talking to me?’ Georgia and I are like, ‘Because our lives, they would suck without you,'” Connick told ET of Rudolph. “Brad Pitt was on a Zoom on the iPad, we flipped the iPad around and Brad Pitt says, ‘Hey man, I just want to thank you,’ and the guy goes, ‘Oh wow!'”
Later in the episode, Oscar winner Bullock spoke with a public transportation worker, Joy Palmer, who lost her husband to COVID-19.
“I think in isolation a lot of times people don’t realize how bright their light is, and I just wish you so much love and peace and understanding that your destiny’s a lot bigger than I think you imagined,” Bullock told Palmer.
So yes, of course I’m up at 3.30 am to see her 😌💕 Sandra Bullock in United We Sing on CBS pic.twitter.com/5rlZLidQqK
— 𝓣𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓮𝓼𝓮 (@Cafidy1) June 22, 2020
In the special, Winfrey spoke with workers at her Boys and Girls Club, Foxx praised environmental service workers, Tim McGraw thanked truckers, Renee Zellweger thanked Kroger grocery store employees, Drew Brees thanked fire fighters, and more.
In addition to the stars who helped with the special, Connick was proud of his daughter’s work behind the camera.
“Watching Georgia execute her incredible skills as a filmmaker was one thing but also to watch her listen and learn from these amazing folks that we met with such humility and respect just, yeah, I was beaming the whole time,” Connick told ET.