Erykah Badu has always been active with charitable causes and social justice, and now she’s taking that good spirit even further. The singer is standing up for rape victims in the Detroit area, who have faced years of trauma and uncertainty by announcing that proceeds from her Aug. 12 concert at the Chene Park Amphitheater will go toward clearing the remainder of the Detroit rape-kit backlog. Rape kits are vital tools in preserving DNA evidence following a sexual assault and can aid criminal investigations and prosecution. Unfortunately, the tests vary in expense from state to state, and in Michigan, they are pretty costly: $490. The backlog in Detroit’s metropolitan area was discovered in 2009 after a Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office investigation revealed more than 11,300 rape kits were sitting untested in a Detroit Police Department storage facility — one of the largest (known) backlogs in the United States.
Five dollars from every concert ticket sold will benefit the African American 490 Challenge, a partner of Enough SAID, the Michigan Women’s Foundation campaign that raises money to test the rape kits. To date, thanks to activism, grants and fundraising, more than 10,000 kits have been tested, according to the website of another vital nonprofit, End The Backlog. But the fight isn’t over until every kit is tested and every victim can have their fair day in court. Proceeds from the concert’s $100 pre-show reception and $1,000 VIP reception will also go toward the campaign.
Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has battled this backlog abomination for years, released a statement to the Detroit Free Press:
“It should come as no surprise that an artist with Erykah Badu’s impressive history of social consciousness would join forces with the black women leaders of Detroit to address this important social issue. We are very excited that she is lending her considerable talent to our cause.”
(h/t Vulture )