PLAY ON: Celebrating the Power of Music to Make Change

On Tuesday December 15 music fans will be able to tune in to an extraordinary benefit concert broadcast amplifying awareness for transformational racial, social and food justice. The primetime one-hour special, PLAY ON: Celebrating the Power of Music to Make Change, will air on the CBS Network at 8/7c (please note new time), available to stream live on CBS All Access and will also be available streaming on YouTube at 9:00pmPT. The benefit concert special will raise funds for two long standing and vital philanthropic organizations, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and WhyHunger, through the Play On Fund created by SixDegrees.Org. During the broadcast, viewers can donate to the organizations by texting the code “PLAYON” to 44-321. PLAY ON will be co-hosted by Golden Globe-winning actor, musician, philanthropist and Founder of Sixdegrees.Org Kevin Bacon and Grammy Award-winning rapper, actress and current “The Talk” host Eve. The show is executive produced by Bacon, iconic international fashion designer John Varvatos, Rock the Bells founder and CEO LL COOL J, esteemed CBS This Morning anchor Anthony Mason, and prominent benefit concert producers Greg Williamson and Nicole Rechter. Celebrated Grammy Award-winning musician and producer Steve Jordan will serve as music director for the concert special.  The broadcast will also include special guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, John Legend and Ringo Starr.

L-R: LL COOL J featuring DJ Z-Trip (Erik Voake/CBS);, Maren Morris (Michael Weintraub/CBS), Jon Batiste (Michele Crowe/CBS)

This memorable concert special will feature three stellar music lineups spanning genres from country and rock to hip hop and jazz/funk, with more exciting artists just added to the performance lineups in New York City and Los Angeles.  The famed Troubadour in Los Angeles will feature Gary Clark Jr., Ziggy Marley with Andra Day and newly added LL COOL J featuring DJ Z-Trip taking over the hip hop portion of the lineup in what will be a magnetic performance.  The legendary Apollo Theater in New York City will showcase an electric performance by Machine Gun Kelly, and Jon Batiste who will be joined by Sara Bareilles, Emily King, Pedrito Martinez and Steve Jordan for a powerful and moving collaboration. The NYC segment of the concert special will also include an exclusive performance from Bon Jovi.  The historic Bluebird Cafe in Nashville will feature some of today’s most acclaimed contemporary female artists including Maren Morris, Sheryl Crow, and genre-bending British singer-songwriter Yola performing “Hold On” featuring The Highwomen.

As hard as it seems right now, we have all of the ingredients for transformation but that is going to require follow through, and that means it doesn’t end after the election, or after  the inaugurations, or when all the votes are tallied. It requires us all to lean in,” said Sherilynn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF).  More than voting, it’s your activism, grassroots activations, joining organizations, marching, protesting, letting your voice be heard. This is one of the essential ingredients of change in this country.”

“I’m excited to be back on stage with my band for two great causes, and I always say yes when it’s John Varvatos asking,” said Machine Gun Kelly.  PLAY ON brought me back to The Apollo, which I’m stoked for fans to see.”

Given the challenging year this has been, we felt strongly that using the power of music as a means to address critical issues we are facing including racial and social injustice would be extremely impactful,” said PLAY ON executive producer Nicole Rechter.  Music has the power to unify and bring people together and we are hopeful that PLAY ON will deliver that message and bring more awareness to the incredible work that our partners, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. and WhyHunger, are doing every day.”

PLAY ON: Celebrating the Power of Music to Make Change is being made possible by many generous partners.  Bloomberg Philanthropies is proud to support PLAY ON, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., and WhyHunger as the Title Sponsor.  Hard Rock International and Ford Foundation have partnered to support PLAY ON along with many others including Frito-Lay, Mary Kay Inc, Southern New Hampshire University, GNF Marketing, Unqork, and The Krim Group. Media sponsors include Rock the Bells, Condé Nast and YouTube. 

For more information on the concert event and partner organizations please visit