Away from the downtown core of South by Southwest Saturday afternoon, a roster of roughly 30 hip-hop, R&B and spoken word artists gathered to raise money for relief efforts for people affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Local organizers coordinated with national activists to produce the event and over the course of six hours over 300 people attended.
The group well exceeded their fundraising goal of $2,000. On Sunday morning, local artist and social worker DaShade Moonbeam, who helped put the event together, said they raised over $3,000. The money will go toward the purchase of water filters that will be distributed to families by members of the national Hip-hop for Flint effort.
The scene on the ground Saturday radiated positive energy. The inside of the theater was packed to capacity and members of the audience, many of whom brought their children, stood along the walls or sat on the floor in front of the stage. The audience was attentive, warmly receiving the sounds of young emerging artists alongside their more experienced counterparts. Meanwhile, outside the theater graffiti artists painted a mural on the side of the theater building with the words Hip-hop 4 Flint blazed proudly in the middle.
Moonbeam said the turnout far exceeded his expectations.
“I kept hearing ‘Why are these types of shows not done more frequently?!’ and ‘When is the next event?!'” he said Sunday. “I felt like we did the right thing in providing a family oriented four elements hip hop event.”
UPDATE: This report has been updated to correct fundraising totals provided by the organizers.