Beyonce headlines sell-out UK gig to promote gender equality

Sat Jun 1, 2013 6:14pm EDT
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By Dasha Afanasieva

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. singer Beyonce performed a set full of female anthems on Saturday at a London concert to raise funds for women's health, education and justice.

The concert, which organizers hoped would reach a billion viewers, was staged by Chime For Change, a charity started by Italian fashion house Gucci which crowdfunds donations for projects to advance gender equality in more than 70 countries.

The "If I Were A Boy" singer was joined on stage by husband and rapper Jay-Z for "Crazy In Love", but sang stirring anthems of female empowerment for which she is best known alone.

She told the audience that the charity gig had already raised $4 million dollars, and urged them to go online and do more during a set lasting 40 minutes that also included short films about women's issues starring Beyonce.

Performances from Florence + The Machine, John Legend and Jennifer Lopez with a surprise duet with Mary J Blige, entertained the audience of more than 50,000 at Twickenham stadium, west London.

Beyonce walked on stage wearing a black leather body suit with sequin shoulders as the crowds chanted her name, and an all-female troupe of violinists played the opening chords of "A Change Is Gonna Come".

Tearful but smiling, she then sang "At Last", originally by Etta James, and pleased a dancing crowd with an energetic performance of "Run The World (Girls)".

The Song For Change concert was broadcast live to 150 countries, and on primetime TV in the United States the following day, organizers said.   Continued...

Singer Beyonce performs at "The Sound of Change" concert at Twickenham Stadium in London June 1, 2013. REUTERS/Neil Hall