Things aren’t perfect in Boston. Between gentrification and infrastructure issues alone, there’s endless material for any socially aware rapper to yap about.
So the fact that Hub MCs are throwing a benefit for the people of Flint, Michigan says a lot about the downright shocking nature—even by contemporary Springtime for Trump in America standards—of events that have unfolded there in the past several years and which recently made national headlines.
It’s been distressing from afar to see how government neglect has begotten lead pollution and poisoning in Flint. What’s even worse have been indications that officials who already dropped the ball will now add insult to injury and fail to provide adequate compensation and fixes.
To help fill that void, a number of musicians and celebs have opened their checkbooks, and, perhaps as importantly, their mouths. Russell Simmons and Sean Combs have lent a hand while boosting their preferred brands of bottled water. Others are throwing Hip-Hop 4 Flint benefit concerts around the country this Saturday, March 19 (including here in Boston), with all proceeds going to people in need in Michigan.
With three fundraisers in Mass alone, Bay State residents won’t have to travel too far for a Flint show. At the Boston throwdown at the 1199 SEIU union hall in Dorchester, the lineup includes a number of accomplished MCs including Letia Larok, Daniel Laurent, Mark Merren, and Foundation Movement. If their track records are any indication, there’s no doubt the audience will also hear about how government neglect impacts residents around here.
“I took the volunteer role of lead organizer on as soon as I was asked,” says Ernesto “Eroc” Arroyo of Foundation Movement. “The idea that this is a national response in over 45 cities, on the same day, inspired me to want to make the Boston event as amazing as possible. When people can come together to raise money and awareness around a cause like this and on top of that build community, it’s a win-win. We can’t keep expecting other people to do what we ourselves know we can do, and in this case it’s show support for the community of Flint as they experience nothing short of a tragic emergency.”
RECOMMENDED READING: MICHAEL MOORE’S 10 FACTS ON FLINT
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.