Thursday, January 21, 2010

hip hop and haiti

The hip hop community is out in force, pledging its support and joining relief efforts helping to deal with the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti a little more than one week ago. The relief efforts are being led by Haitian-born artist Wyclef Jean whose organization Yele Haiti has been offering humanitarian support in Haiti since 2005. (Donations are accepted at or by giving a $5 donation by texting “Yele” to 501501). In addition, U2's Bono and Jay-Z are teaming up on a new single to benefit the people of Haiti. The effort is not only carried by hip-hops stars, but local hip-hop groups around the country are also holding benefit concerts raising funds and awareness for the tragedy in Haiti.

The hip hop nation has not survived this tragedy without loss, as Haitian artist Jimmy O was confirmed dead last Friday. Jimmy O was a Port-au-Prince native who worked with Wyclef Jean’s Yele organization. Evenson Francis, regarded as the “pioneer of Haitian hip-hop” also did not survive the quake when he could not escape his recording studio. In remembrance his friends held a ceremony in Delmas Stadium where he had enjoyed performing.

Rap mogul Russell Simmons has called on the hip hop community to action saying “we must do all that we can as individuals and collectively to help save the lives of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.” This call seems to have been answered as Americans have raised over $150 million. The true question will be, however, once the tragedy fades from the evening news whether Haiti will remain at the forefront of our collective thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. I hope that with artists such as Wyclef behind humanitarian aid to Haiti even BEFORE the quake that their plight will not be overlooked. Wyclef's organization (and other similar orgs) will be able to use this new awareness of Haiti to garner future support. It's innevitable that the outpouring of care will slow down from its present amount, but with proper management of the funds, at least something could be sustained.


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