Jermaine Fletcher (co-founder of Curators of Hip Hop and ambassador for Hip Hop 4 Flint Hawaii), Yonasda Lonewolf (artist and activist and founder of Hip Hop 4 Flint), and Jimmie Thomas (producer and co-founder of Curators of Hip Hop) at Morehouse College in February on the Legacy Tour. (Photo: PNNLegacy12)
Baltimore and 38 other cities around the world—from Toronto to Grand Rapids to Providence, R.I.—will come together on March 27 for a global day of unity to raise money to support for residents of Flint, Mich., where more than 9,000 children have been exposed to lead in the water they drink.
Hip-Hop 4 Flint is a call to action for local, national, and international artists and leaders in the hip-hop community to host an event in their city to collect $80,000 to filtrate the water in more than 500 homes.
The Hip Hop 4 Flint movement is led by YoNasDa Lonewolf, a hip hop artist and activist who focuses her work on human rights, indigenous rights, and social justice.
In a March 10 Facebook post, Lonewolf described how the global fundraising initiative got started: “This crazy woman always had a HUGE imagination that instead of holding one HUGE fundraising event in 1 city let’s do a HUGE fundraising event in ALL the major cities.”
In the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake that left 300,000 dead and hundreds of thousands of survivors displaced, Lonewolf launched Hip Hop 4 Haiti. The movement caught fire in hip hop communities across the world.
Curators of Hip Hop with students from Coppin High School at Enoch Pratt Library’s Penn North Branch for a film screening. (Photo: Yonasda)
In Baltimore, the movement is led by The Curators of Hip-Hop (COHH), a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving the ever-changing culture of hip hop in an online conservatory that showcases positive artistry and explores how different cities, states and countries embrace the culture of hip hop.
“Hip hop is about unity in the community,” said Jimmie Thomas, producer and co-founder of COHH. “It’s bigger than Flint. Our kids in Baltimore can’t even drink from the water fountains in their schools.”
While the global goal is to raise money for the residents of Flint, the local goal is to bring the people in Baltimore together, because the lead crisis here continues. It was only 13 years ago that Baltimore City Public Schools started offering students filtered water. At least 4,900 Maryland children have been poisoned by lead in the past decade.
Hundreds of young people living in Baltimore’s Sandtown/Winchester, Park Heights and sections of Middle-East communities where lead-poisoned homes are concentrated have already been irreversibly affected.
The purpose of the Hip-Hop 4 Flint event in Baltimore is to raise awareness around how this national issue hits home and to connect youth in the community to resources and support services that will help them to secure a brighter future.
“We want to provide a positive experience for young people right here in their community, educate them through the universal language of hip hop,” Thomas said.
The Hip Hop 4 Flint Baltimore event will feature performances by Grammy-nominated Carolyn Malachi, Kojo, Miss Mama, Ra TheMC, DevRock and Alanah. Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Good News Baltimore, Grooming for Success are among many of the city’s community organizations that have unified to make this day possible.
Hip-Hop 4 Flint Baltimore will take place March 27 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Maryland Art Place 218 W Saratoga St. Baltimore, MD 21201.