ALL THE SINGLE LADIES…AND THEN SOME: Central Park will be playing host two well-known figures — Pope Francis and Beyoncé. While it’s hard to tell who will draw the bigger crowd — the pope on Friday or the singer on Saturday — the message behind their appearances might not be all that different.
After all, Beyoncé will perform as part of a high-profile concert that is linked to the Global Citizen Festival. Other acts will include Coldplay, Pearl Jam and Ed Sheeran, and luminaries such as Bono, Stephen Colbert, Leonardo DiCaprio, Salma Hayek Pinault, Hugh Jackman, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg and Bill and Melinda Gates, are all expected to make appearances.
According to Willie Geist, who will co-host MSNBC’s broadcast from 3 to 10 p.m. with Alex Wagner, Janet Mock and Thomas Roberts, this year will likely be bigger than last year, which drew roughly 60,000 people to the park.
Referencing the timing of the United Nations General Assembly, which kicks off this week, as well as the pope’s visit, Geist told WWD “there’s more excitement around the event this year.”
Geist, a cohost on MSBNC’s “Morning Joe” and the third hour of NBC’s “Today,” said he will be interviewing the advocates behind the project.
“The ambitiousness of the goal is enormous — they want to end extreme poverty by 2030 — but the leaders of this group say this is definitely possible,” he said, adding that the migrant issue will be a central theme, as it will be for the U.N., and has been for the Pope.
He highlighted the Syrian refugee issue, and underscored the importance of its impact on Europe and the Middle East to global poverty.
Geist, who also covers politics, likened the event’s awareness factor to the presidential race.
“My point of view is, they say it’s Donald Trump and it’s a circus. If you have 25 million people tuning into a political debate, I think it’s good,” he said, before turning to the Global Citizen Festival. “If you’re hearing people talk about Syrian refugees and the Affordable Care Act…even if you’re tuning in to hear Beyoncé sing ‘Single Ladies,’ you’re going to hear about global poverty, too.”