Beyoncé, JJ Watt, Kevin Hart offer support for Hurricane Harvey recovery

Celebrities are flexing their star power, and opening their wallets, to aid Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Several have released statements over the past few days that go beyond the usual assortment of thoughts and prayers.

Houston’s own Beyoncé has pledged to do her part.

The Third Ward superstar released an exclusive statement Monday to the Chronicle regarding the devastating effects still being felt throughout the city.

“My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help,” she said.

“I am working closely with my team at BeyGOOD as well as my pastor (Rudy Rasmus at St. John’s in downtown Houston) to implement a plan to help as many as we can.”

 BeyGOOD, launched in 2013 during the Mrs. Carter World Tour, is a philanthropic effort that partners with global charity organizations to get people employed and provide clothing, counseling, housing, food and medical assistance.

Beyoncé posted a black-and-white photo Sunday on Instagram of herself holding the Texas flag with the caption, “Texas you are in my prayers.” It received more than 1 million likes in less than one day.

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt kicked off a pledge drive Sunday on that raised $200,000 in less than two hours. Watt himself donated $100,000 and has now raised the goal to $1 million. It was past the halfway mark as of Monday afternoon.

“There are so many people that are gonna need our help. There are so many people that are gonna need these funds to help rebuild their families, their houses, their communities,” Watt said.

“Houston’s a great city. We’re gonna come out of this stronger than ever.”

Drake, the Canadian rapper who has a long history with Houston, says he’s working with DJ and producer Future the Prince to assist “in any way we can.”

“We are currently overseas in London, and all I can think about is how devastated I am as I look at images of the damage Hurricane Harvey has caused. I am praying for the safety of all those affected,” Drake wrote Monday morning on Instagram.

“Houston has truly been a home to me over the last 8 years. Myself and (Future the Prince) are working with local relief groups to aid and assist the people of Texas in anyway we can and in the most immediate way possible. I also want to thank all the men and women of service and volunteers for their courageous efforts to help people in need.

“I encourage everyone to do what they can to assist the people of Texas knowing whatever effort you can make to help will go a long way.”

Drake’s career was launched at a 2009 Warehouse Live show. He started Houston Appreciation Weekend in 2014 and has a Houston Astros logo tattooed on his shoulder.

Comedian and actor Kevin Hart has challenged several of his A-list friends to follow his lead and each donate $25,000 through a Hurricane Harvey Relief Challenge he started on Instagram.

In a video post, he calls on Dwayne Johnson, Beyoncé, Chris Rock, Jay-Z, Jerry Seinfeld and Justin Timberlake, among others.

“I think we’ve participated in a lot of challenges on the internet, some meaningful, some meaningless, but we’ve all done them. I’ve been a person that’s partaken in several of them,” Hart said.

“At this point, this is a serious matter. I think the people are in bad shape and they need help. I’m going to lead the charge of stepping up in this way.”

Country singer Chris Young started a GoFundMe to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Young himself donated $100,000 to benefit the Red Cross and other local disaster relief organizations. His GoFundMe has a goal of $500,000

Young is a Tennessee native but has family and close friends in the area. He lived in Arlington before signing with RCA Records and has a home in Texas that he says will likely have to be torn down due to wind and flooding damage.

Another country act, Lady Antebellum, is donating 100-percent of merchandise sales from a recent Dallas show to victims of the storm. Singer Charles Kelley announced it onstage Friday night at Starplex Pavilion in Dallas.

Fans pitched in more than $44,000 at final tally.

Lady Antebellum canceled a Sunday show at The Woodlands Pavilion due to Harvey. No word on a rescheduled date.

Singer Hillary Scott has several local connections. Her mother, singer Linda Davis, is from East Texas. And several family members have lived in Houston.

“I always get to spend really sweet time with my mom’s side of the family when I’m there,” Scott said. “It’s just real special to me. It’s like a mini family reunion every time.”

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda made a donation and urged others to donate to the Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center. “My family and I like to support organizations that are on the ground and will be there still when the cameras are gone,” he said. “This organization has been working in the community for over 100 years.”

Thoughts of Houston even made their way onto MTV.

Katy Perry took a few moments during hosting duties at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards to send “love” to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We’re praying for your safety in the days to come and we stand with you as you rebuild because we’re all in this together.”

She ended by urging viewers to donate to the Red Cross. (Joey Guerra /  Courtesy of  Houston Chronicle)