The NAACP is among three groups that will receive portions of the proceeds from Prince’s Rally 4 Peace concert, held in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death and the resulting turbulence.
At the surprise event held May 10 at Royal Farms Arena, concert-goers were asked to wear gray in support of Gray, who died April 19from injuries sustained while in police custody. Ticket prices ranged from a little over $20 to just under $500.
Prince performed a number of his hits and a new song, “Baltimore,” which he recorded at his Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minn., and released on Twitter one day before the concert. He was also joined by guest stars such as Estelle, Miguel and Doug E. Fresh.
An undisclosed percentage of the concert’s proceeds will be donated to the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) initiative, which is “an achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students,” according to the organization’s website.
“The NAACP is both humbled and delighted to receive such a generous donation from such an iconic musical figure,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks in a statement. “Prince is an artist that not only makes us think, but also inspires us to act. His new song aptly titled, ‘Baltimore’ asks the question, ‘Does anybody hear us pray, for Michael Brown and Freddie Gray?’ These words will resonate through the ears, hearts and minds of all who hear.”
He added, “Our Association is beyond grateful for this tremendous gift. Young people throughout the city of Baltimore will grow stronger and go further in school and in life because of this donation. We look forward to working with Prince on future endeavors.”
Unspecified funds will also be donated to Baltimore City programs YouthWorks and One Baltimore.
YouthWorks is the city’s summer jobs program for youth ages 14-21. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake this week announced the city had boosted funding for the program to pay for 7,000 jobs.
One Baltimore, announced May 7 by the mayor, is a public-private initiative to address the city’s ills that were highlighted by the recent upheaval.
“In addition to One Baltimore focusing on the immediate, short-term needs of those communities affected by our recent unrest and violence, this is an opportunity for us to focus more intensely on systemic problems that have faced our city for decades, if not generations,” said Rawlings-Blake at the time of the announcement. “While our city’s challenges are not unique from many other urban areas, I believe that our unique strengths create an atmosphere for us to make real progress moving forward.”