Star-studded 2016 MusiCares gala raises over $7M for musicians in need

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Honoree Lionel Richie performs onstage during the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Lionel Richie at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Tommaso Boddi/Getty)

What do Stevie Wonder, Dave Grohl and Usher have in common? Earlier this month, they—along with many other musical greats—joined forces to pay tribute to the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year, Lionel Richie, in support of MusiCares.

Each year, MusiCares hosts its prestigious big-ticket fundraiser two days before the GRAMMY Awards ceremony. This year’s 26th annual tribute honored the life and musical legacy of four-time GRAMMY winner Lionel Richie. Artists from music genres across the spectrum—from Pharell Williams, to Lady Antebellum, to Luke Bryan—gathered to pay their respects to the musical pioneer who helped to pave the way for them. And this is really what MusiCares is all about, giving back to people who’ve given so much to so many through their music. The nonprofit organization acts as a safety net for people in the music industry who are faced with financial, medical and personal emergencies. It also takes a proactive approach, supporting health and welfare programs serving the music community.

True to the spirit of MusiCares, Richie was named the 2016 Person of the Year for his exceptional musical contributions as well as his lifelong dedication to charity. Throughout his career he has made substantial contributions to the Breast Cancer Research Center and the United Negro College Fund. And, perhaps most notably, in 1985 he and Michael Jackson co-wrote, “We Are the World,”—the single that became a phenomenon, raising over $60 million for humanitarian aid.

This year’s MusiCares tribute concert and award ceremony drew so many musical legends that emcee Jimmy Kimmel jokingly asked, “Did we just see the entire ‘We Are the World’ video?”

The evening brought in over $7 million for musicians in need, a record-breaking amount for the event. Check out Lionel Richie’s interview below to learn more about the organization and the honor of being named the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year.

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