The Today journalist will cohost MSNBC’s live feed of the 2016 show, which is sure to be just as “iconic” as the last two – even if there’s no Queen Bey.
“Listen, it’s hard to top Beyoncé two years in a row, but I think they have done a fantastic job,” Hall, 46, tells PEOPLE of the Grammy winner, who performed at the past two festivals but is not slated on this year’s A-list bill, which includes Demi Lovato, Major Lazer and more. “Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Metallica – it’s gonna be awesome!”
But the festival veteran says the greatest thing about the outing isn’t the lineup but the work it does in the fight against extreme poverty. Nonprofit Global Citizen puts on its annual festival to advocate for change, bringing world leaders together to pledge financial aid and policy changes to end extreme poverty by 2030.
“It’s not just a line. This is not just some ambitious Hollywood fundraiser,” Hall says. “This is about the people, and what you will see Saturday is the people’s revolution against extreme poverty.”
She adds, “It’s not just a concert, it’s not just a chance to hang out in Central Park. Those two things alone are fantastic but the Global Citizen Festival has attracted such a unique group of people from around the world in the sense that they’ve not given in to some of the negativity that is out there. They’ve not given into that and they’ve decided that they are going to be a part of change.”
Still, the main event is a star-studded concert, and Hall says that she’s excited for Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna to perform because they symbolize the values of the festival.
“I love Rihanna. She represents that strong, independent woman that you cannot keep down,” Hall says. “But I also like Kendrick Lamar. He’s the voice of a generation. We’re looking at all of these issues with an active voice, not a passive voice, and that’s what he is: an active voice of his generation.
“When those artists take the stage, I think we’ll see an explosion of energy,” Hall adds.