We've all witness the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. For millions who live in Houston and the surrounding areas of Texas to others along the gulf, this is a life-changing event. For the rest of us, we only need to check our phones or turn on the television to see the flooding and the suffering.
People from all over the country (and other countries) are volunteering their time, money, resources, and expertise to help in any way that they can. That includes a number of celebrities who have donated to Houston relief efforts.
Among these generous celebrity donors is Tyler Perry. We have his video below, and he's pledging $1 million to help Houston.
Harvey has dumped a record-breaking amount of water on Houston.
Yes, Houston is designed to flood. The roads are absolutely designed to catch water.
But no city is designed for this much flooding. Especially not when it comes this quickly.
We've seen streets turn into rivers so deep that they cover the tops of cars and trucks.
Waves run across the surface of the water. That's how much we're talking about.
We've seen homes and neighborhoods consumed by floodwaters.
People have been swept away. People have drowned. People have been electrocuted.
Some people are doubtless still isolated, or waiting to hear from loved ones.
To say nothing of the countless heartbreaking stories of dogs who were separated from or abandoned by their humans.
(Some dogs were even tied to posts, which you shouldn't do even when you're not condemning your dog to drown to death)
This is a natural disaster but also a humanitarian crisis.
Tyler Perry, the actor, writer, director, and producer who honestly doesn't need us or anyone else to explain who he is, took to Facebook yesterday to announce his pledge to help with the relief efforts.
In the video, he talks about how much he's giving and how he's choosing to share his money.
"This is about helping people, so if you want to give, I challenge you to find someone who has boots on the ground."
Note that he isn't suggesting something easy, like donating to the Red Cross.
A number of people are leery of donating to the Red Cross after criticisms that Haiti still hasn't seen much of the money donated after their devastating earquake back during Obama's first term as President.
The Red Cross has also been unable to clarify how much of what's donated to them right now will go directly to Houston.
"I'm sending $250,000 to Lakewood, to make sure they can get all the supplies that people need, and I know for sure that they will. Also, I'm working with Beyonce's pastor [Rudy Rasmus], giving another $250,000 to Bread of Life to make sure that things are immediately getting to the people."
Tyler Perry also says that he is "saving $500,000 for other charities right now."
That is smart, because you don't always know what is immediately necessary.
Some places have plenty of food, but need diapers or clothing.
Other places have plenty of supplies, but need people with medical training.
In addition to working hard to avoid charity scams (seriously, con artists will come out of the woodwork when there's a disaster and people want to donate), you need to see where the chips fall before you can determine where your money will do the most good.
People physically on the ground (or in the water, in most cases) may be the best equipped to determine what needs to be done.
Some celebrities, like Miranda Lambert, are just running their own relief efforts. Miranda has been rescuing dogs by the truckload and taking them to the safety of dry shelters outside of Texas.
We're not going to pretend that Tyler Perry isn't problematic.
He has a history of, especially through his films, making some alarming suggestions about things like HIV (which seem to be a curse).
And though Tyler Perry himself is an abuse-survivor, he sometimes features abuse in his comedy.
(Different people process their traumas in different ways, to be fair, but by using it for "physical comedy" he sends mixed messages)
Even in this video, Tyler Perry defends Joel Osteen for not immediately opening the doors of his megachurch as a shelter.
That's bound to be controversial.
But we're going to give credit where credit is due, and Tyler Perry is putting a lot of money towards relief efforts and he's doing it in a very smart way.