Erykah Badu is Doing Something Huge for African American Women
  • TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2016

  • Posted by: Susmita Paruchuri

There are a lot of musicians who use their fame and fortune for good, like Taylor Swift, who donated $50,000 to her backup dancers baby nephew who had cancer, or Katy Perry, who raised $175,000 during her California Dreams tour for 50 different charities. And Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Erykah Badu is joining those ranks.

More than five years ago, 11,341 unopened rape kits were found in a storage unit of the Detroit Police Departments, meaning 11,341 sex crimes went ignored. Enough SAID (Enough Sexual Assault in Detroit) is an organization created to raise money to get those kits tested and Erykah Badu is now partnering with The Right Productions to donate a significant amount of her concert proceeds to the sister organization, the African American 490 Challenge (named for the $490 cost to get a rape kit tested).

For her upcoming show with Hiatus Kaiyote on August 12 in Chene Park in Detroit, Badu is planning to donate $5 from each ticket sale, in addition to the proceeds from the $100-per-ticket reception before the show and $1,000-per-person VIP reception afterwards with the artist, according to Shahida Mausi, president and CEO of The Right Productions.

"It should come as no surprise that an artist with Erykah Badu's impressive history of social consciousness would join forces with the black women leaders of Detroit to address this important social issue. We are very excited that she is lending her considerable talent to our cause", Kim Trent, president of the 490 Challenge said.

Donating this much of her proceeds to a cause is certainly making a statement by showing what an artists generosity can amount to. Over 11,000 victims cases were ignored, which also means thousands of rapists have committed violent crimes against women and gotten off scot-free. The cost to get a kit tested is originally around $1,500, but head of the Wayne County Prosecutors Office, Kym L. Worthy was able to get enough grant money to test 8,000 kits, negotiating them down to $490. Though these organizations and efforts from public figures and celebrities like Badu are valuable, the fact that these organizations even exist shows that there's a bigger, much more far-reaching social and cultural issue at hand.

Taking a step in the right direction, concert organizers hope to put $50,000 toward AA490s year-end goal of $657,090. That's close to 10% of the target that wouldn't be possible without Badu's help. "The world is watching us. But you can't have economic development if you can't feel safe walking to your car after work", said Michelle Busuito, a Detroit lawyer who is involved with Enough SAID, but with the latest high profile effort from Badu and these organizations, hopefully they can get there.
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