Erykah Badu is donating a portion of all of her future concert proceeds to the African American 490 Challenge, a nonprofit that raises funds to help process Detroit’s backlogged rape kits.
Badu had announced last month that she would donate a portion ($5 from every sale) of her Detroit concert proceeds to the organization but upped her pledge at her Detroit show on Friday (Aug. 13), according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I pledge to raise the same amount of money with each show that I do until we raise this money,” Badu said after the concert, according to the publication. “I’m with it. I think it’s one of the most important things I could do […] I hope that this venture gives peace to some of us who are victims and some of us who are not.”
She called rape a violation of human rights.
“[Rape is] a violent crime just like any other violent crime, and it’s illegal, and it’s immoral,” she said. “It’s a violation of human rights. It’s a violation of the human body. It’s a violation of our integrity. It’s a violation of our sexuality. It’s a crime not only against women, but children and boys who are victims as well.”
A single rape kit costs $490, and the African American 490 Challenge consists of a coalition of black women that last fall brought sororities, nonprofits, community groups, service organizations, book clubs and other groups that together, aim to raise $600,000 in increments of $490. In all, the group is attempting to raise the money needed to test the last of more than 11,341 rape kits found abandoned in a Detroit Police Department storage unit in 2009.
Badu, a Dallas native, says that she spends a lot of time Detroit and feels a special connection to the city. She also said she’s not surprised that kits remain untested for so long.
“In our community, the kind of climate that we live in, it’s a very patriarchal society and those things are not important enough in our communities,” she said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “We don’t really have a voice when it comes to some of those things. They’re just accepted as normal. There’s no moral detention for those kinds of things. I wasn’t that surprised, but I was surprised.”
For more information about the AA490 Challenge or to donate, visit www.aa490challenge.org.