The Weeknd has been honored for his social activism, being named the recipient of the 2022 Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award.
According to a press release from the organization, the award goes to a Canadian artist, duo or group each year “in recognition of their social activism and benevolent support of humanitarian interests and causes.” In addition to the award, The Slaight Family Foundation will make a $50,000 donation to the charity of The Weeknd’s choosing.
“That this is a Canadian award sits deep with me,” the Grammy Award-winning singer said in a statement. “Allan and The Slaight Family Foundation are known across the country for their generous philanthropy, and it means a lot to be acknowledged, and is an honor to be recognized along with the legendary Canadian artists who received this award before me.”
President/CEO of the Slaight Family Foundation, Gary Slaight, also made a statement and explained the organization’s reasons for picking the “Starboy” singer.
“The global success of Abel ‘the Weeknd’ Tesfaye makes every Canadian proud,” Slaight said. “What Abel has done with his success is something that we can be doubly proud of–and this is to improve the lives of people in need, in Canada and around the world. His altruism, in a word, is exemplary.”
In the last few years, The Weeknd has donated more than $8.3 million to different causes, including $50,000 to the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Toronto he attended when he was a kid; $100,000 to Uganda-based maternity and children’s medical facility the Suubi Health Center; large donations to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the Equal Justice Initiative and the United Nations World Food Programme; and he funded a new Ethiopian studies program at the University of Toronto.
In September, he fulfilled a young cancer patient’s biggest dream when he agreed to meet her backstage at one of his shows.
The singer got word of the wish after the child’s mom made a tweet explaining how her daughter is currently fighting cancer and she wanted nothing more than to meet her favorite artist.
“My daughter wants to meet her favorite artist @theweeknd and go to his concert,” the tweet read. “I want to make that happen for her, she deserves the best of the best. she’s kicking cancer’s butt and still being a light in this world. help me make it happen for her. #AbelMeetKatana.”
The Weeknd happily obliged and clips of the later interaction show the elated toddler presenting him with gifts she made including a cutout of the letter “A” as well as something for his dog. Before their warm embrace as he headed to the stage, he thanked the young fan saying, “This is for my dog! Really? Thank you so much.”