Cardi B made a triumphant return to the stage for her first U.S. set as a mum on Saturday (29Sep18) and she had a special message to fans - vote.

The rapper, who was among the headliners at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York, hit the Central Park stage dressed all in red and belted out a string of hits, but she added a little politics to the annual event, which aims to raise awareness about poverty around the world.

Urging fans to vote at America's mid-term elections in November (18), she said, "Last election, everybody took it as a joke. Even me... I thought, 'Man, that person (Donald Trump) ain’t gonna win', and look where we are now.

"We need to vote so we change our community. We need somebody that’s gonna represent us, that’s gonna protect us. We don’t need somebody that’s gonna be arguing with ballplayers."

Cardi also confessed her big live comeback three months after giving birth to daughter Kulture has left her with a little stagefright, joking with fans she thought she was having a nervous breakdown.

She prepared for the festival gig by performing a short set in Paris last week (ends28Sep18) during the Etam Spring/Summer show as part of Paris Fashion Week.

Meanwhile, fellow Global Citizen Festival headliner John Legend also got a little political during his set on Saturday, telling fans he's frustrated when he reads the news.

Introducing new song Preach, he said, "I wrote this song recently, it's not out yet... In the song we talk about how frustrating it can be to look at your phone, read the news, see what's happening. See how senators treat women who come forward with sexual abuse claims. See how people ridicule young people who march for the right to go to school without getting shot up. See how people would denigrate those who make the very simple claim that black lives matter.

"We can get frustrated when we see all of that, but we can't give up. It's not enough for us to talk about it or tweet about it, we've got to do something."

The festival also featured performances from Janelle Monae, The Weeknd, and Janet Jackson, who was welcomed to the stage by event organiser Chris Martin. The Coldplay singer addressed fans after a gunfire scare following the loud collapse of a barrier.

"A barrier, I think, fell down," he said, assuring fans all was well. "Of course it caused people to be a little frightened and stuff like that, but nobody is trying to hurt anybody. You're all safe, OK."

Hosted by Hugh Jackman and his actress wife Deborra-lee Furness, the goal of the annual concert is to encourage leaders to help end extreme global poverty by 2030.