Wednesday January 20, 2010 artists, community leaders, and elected officials alike joined forces to raise money for Yele Haiti’s Earthquake Relief efforts. Partisan politics and previous allegiances played no part as the best of the best in the City of Baltimore looked beyond their usual differences and came together for this common cause for humanity. The devastating 7.0 earthquake that occurred in Haiti has left behind millions in destroyed homes and infrastructure – but that is not why we all came together, it is the thousands of lives lost and still holding on to be found and saved that appealed to the better nature of all those that took part.
As Baltimore media correspondent for The Hip Hop Caucus a call to action was sent out by Russell Simmons, Rep. Barbara Lee, and President of The Hip Hop Caucus Rev. Lennox Yearwood on behalf of Grammy award winning recording artist Wyclef Jean, I organized an event in 4 days to begin immediate efforts in getting cash and supplies to Yele Haiti in support of their work on the ground for the people of Haiti. As an artist myself I called on new and old friends to help me make this possible and each responded to the call. Many artists so moved by the tragedy came prepared and performed original pieces of music for Haiti such as William Soul, BrownF.I.S.H, and Kyonte’. The concert turned out to be a night of creativity that could be described only as “hood holistic” as everyone from Love Peace Project to Scola (formerly of Dru Hill) took to the stage and offered there gift unto the crowd in thanks of their support for such a worthy cause.
However, it was not just the artists that came together for this effort. Notable appearances were made by City Councilman Bernard “Jack” Young, members of both the MTA Union and Baltimore City Fire Department, Buffalo Bills Arian Maybin, Doni Glover of BmoreNews, Marsha Reeves-Jews, and Eric Stewart of E Media. A silent auction was conducted with products and services donated by local businesses such as SAMOS Clothing that added to the amount of funds that we were able to raise. Bmore4Yele was even blessed to have Rev. Yearwood himself and members of the Hip Hop Caucus address the concert attendee’s stressing the importance of JUSTICE for the children being sent to the U.S. to be adopted so quickly that living relatives are not being given time to look for and claim them, DEBT RELIEF for the country of Haiti by all nations but most especially the U.S., and reiterating the URGENCY of the need to continue to help aide these individuals after the news has left and your televisions and newspapers no longer remind you of the calamitous event. This and many other soul stirring messages were delivered and set the tone that while we were there and enjoying an amazing concert we were gathered for a reason that was not as joyous as our spirits in that place.
Bmore4Yele was the first of 5 benefits that will be held by Catalina Byrd in Baltimore on behalf of the Hip Hop Caucus to support the efforts and was made possible by a number of sponsors, though none contributed as much as Tracye Stafford who donated The Velvet Rope to the event at no charge as her contribution to the relief. On behalf of myself and the Hip Hop Caucus we thank her, The Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce, McMillan Consulting, Digit All Systems, and Nice Shot Photography for their tireless work for this event. Additional information on upcoming events can be found at www.Bmore4Yele.blogspot.com , as Baltimore like so many other cities and states around the world puts politics aside for the sake of people in dire need.
There are some matters in which there is no line to stand on either side of…this is one of them.