Erykah Badu has announced plans to donate a large portion of the proceeds from her concert at Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheater on August 12 to the African American 490 Challenge, an organization seeking to test the remainder of the 11,300 untested rape kits that were found abandoned in a Detroit police station in 2009.
Since their discovery, approximately 10,000 of the rape kits have been tested—thanks largely to community activism and fundraising. The remaining kits each cost $490 each to process, leading to the foundation of the African American 490 Challenge, an organization that—in association with Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit)— is seeking “to raise private-sector funding to test these rape kits, investigate the crimes and prosecute the resulting cases, thus securing justice and closure for victims and ensuring a safer community for everyone.”
According to the Detroit Free Press:
Shahida Mausi, president and CEO of the Right Productions, said the 490 Challenge would get $5 from each ticket sale as well as the proceeds from a $100-per-ticket reception before the concert and $1,000-per-person VIP reception with Badu after the show. Organizers said tickets to both receptions are 100% tax deductible.
Organizers, who include the Circle, a local black women’s social issues group, hope to raise $50,000 toward the 490 Challenge’s goal of raising $657,090 by year’s end. The 490 Challenge has raised about $250,000 so far from efforts that included a fund-raising competition between black sororities and a contest last year between supporters of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
“Together, we stand for justice,” Mausi said. “We are honored to make Chene Park the site for great artistry supporting a great mission.”
African American 490 Challenge president Kim Trent remarked:
“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.”
Kym Worthy, the heroic Detroit prosecutor who’s been fighting tirelessly over the past several years to get the forgotten kits processed, lauded Badu’s contribution to the cause, saying, “Everyone knows that Erykah Badu is a major, major talent in the music and song-writing industry. For her to lend her name, talent and time to this work is nothing short of a miracle. Justice for these forgotten sexual assault victims has been given a phenomenal assist.”
Tickets for Badu’s Chene Park show are available on Ticketmaster.
Image via the AP.