Water Crisis Benefit Brings Stars to Flint on Oscar Night | NBC Southern California

Water Crisis Benefit Brings Stars to Flint on Oscar Night

Comedian Hannibal Buress hosted the free, livestreamed show

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    Filmmaker Ryan Coogler speaks during an event celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Riverside Church in New York, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Coogler and others attended at benefit in Flint for the area's water crisis on Oscar night Sunday.

    A benefit for residents affected by the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint features some big names but is a grass-roots effort at its core, "Creed" director Ryan Coogler said Sunday.

    Coogler, actor Jesse Williams and about a dozen others opened the #JusticeForFlint event on Oscar night by talking about the water crisis and thanking the crowd. Those participating in the Flint benefit, which included performances by Janelle Monae and Stevie Wonder, are helping raise money and awareness about the water problem, Coogler said.

    None of the opening speakers mentioned the Academy Awards or the uproar over the lack of diversity of this year's nominees. Coogler's "Creed" had been the favorite to win the best supporting actor Oscar for Sylvester Stallone's reprise of his iconic Rocky character. It was the sole nomination for the critically acclaimed film, which many saw as yet another example of how the film academy is out of step with today's audiences.

    Comedian Hannibal Buress hosted the free, livestreamed show. He joked that the woman who checked him in at his hotel in Flint didn't even mention the crisis, which has left Flint residents unable to drink unfiltered tap water.