Austin hip hop community raises money to help end Flint water crisis

Hip hop artists from all over the country, including Austin, are performing voluntarily to raise money for people in Flint, Michigan.
The funds will be used to help residents there gain access to clean water.

The Hip Hop 4 Flint show in Austin took place at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre to raise money for home filtration systems for residents in Flint.
The city of Flint has a population of about 100,000 people. 45 percent of them are living in poverty.

Saturday, artists such as Nappy Roots, 40 Akerz and Da' Shade Moonbeam performed during Austin’s concert.

The goal is to raise $80,000 at hip hop shows across the nation in order to install home filtration systems at affected homes in flint.

“The reason I put it together is because I started thinking about what would happen if my son didn't have clean water,” said Jeffrey Da’ Shade Johnson who helped organize the event. 

1,400 miles away from Austin 9,000 children have been exposed to water that was classified as toxic waste.

“The reason Flint, Michigan is at the forefront of my mind is because that's my family,” said Ghislaine Qi Dada Jean of Riders Against the Storm.

“We're all human beings and have you ever been without something? Have you ever felt not represented or neglected in some way? While, multiply that by 100 or 200 where you're not getting your basic needs,” said Riders Against the Storm artist Johnathan Chaka Mahone. 

Two years ago, state officials switched Flint’s water supply to the Flint River to save money in the impoverished city. That river water was not treated for corrosion and lead from aging pipes made its way into homes and businesses.

Elevated lead levels were found in more than 220 children and 100 adults in Flint.

“It shouldn't happen in any city in the United States in 2016. We're too far along to have a situation like that,” said Nappy Roots artist Fishscales.  

Lead contamination has been known to cause learning disabilities and legionnaire’s disease. 10 people died from the contamination.

“That is murder. People died. People died. 10 people died and dozens of people are sick and it was done on purpose,” Jean said. 

Saturday, 52 cities held hip hop events to raise money to support families without access to clean water.

Event organizers in Austin hoped to contribute $2,000 worth of donations to the Prince of Peace Church which plans to install 500 water filtration systems at homes in Flint.

“This is what you can think about the hip hop community here in Austin. We come together, we're strong and we're sweet and we're powerful and we make changes and we influence and it's beautiful,” Jean said. 

Any additional money raised will help fund installation equipment and labor.

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