Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
After lobbying from “Swifties,” Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue was lit up to welcome Taylor Swift to Brazil ahead of a concert on Friday as part of her global blockbuster “Eras Tour.”
As die-hard fans gathered at the famed statue atop Corcovado mountain and in the square below, the giant monument went dark Thursday night and was then reilluminated wearing a light-projection tribute to Swift’s “Junior Jewels” T-shirt, from her video “You Belong With Me.”
“Welcome to Brasil,” it said — in English, but using the Portuguese spelling of “Brazil” — with the names of the country’s 27 states scrawled across it.
Fans were ecstatic.
“I’m going to cry. What matters most to me is her seeing it, her smiling, her being happy,” said Rafaela Martins Lopes, one of the devotees who flocked to the statue.
The tribute to the US pop sensation came after fans inundated social media with calls to give her a fitting welcome to the South American country.
The Catholic rector responsible for the statue, Omar Raposo of Christ the Redeemer sanctuary, responded with a challenge on Instagram: raise 300,000 reais ($60,000) for charity, and he would organize a special message.
The response was so overwhelming it crashed the fundraising site handling the campaign — which was extended to Sunday, the last day of Swift’s three-night stop in Rio, to give people more time to contribute.
According to organizers, despite the technical problems, the campaign raised more than 180,000 reais in less than 24 hours, which will be used to give out food baskets to mark the World Day of the Poor on November 19, an initiative launched by Pope Francis.
On Rio’s spectacular Guanabara Bay, a giant ferris wheel was also lit up in tribute to Swift Thursday, with the message, “Love’s a Game, Wanna Play?” — a lyric from her hit song “Blank Space.”
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