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Erykah Badu at the Umbria Jazz Festival. Commons.

Erykah Badu at the Umbria Jazz Festival. Creative commons.

In a recent show of solidarity with the people of Detroit, Michigan, Erykah Badu has announced that she is donating part of the concert proceeds from her August 12 show in the Motor City to help test more of the city’s untested rape kits.

In collaboration with Right Productions, five dollars from each ticket sold at the Chene Park Ampitheatre will go to the cause headed by the African-American 490 Challenge, making a dent in the $490 that it costs to test each kit. On top of the $5 from each regular ticket, all proceeds from the $100 ticket pre-show reception and the $1,000 ticket VIP afterparty will go to the cause. Both the pre-show and after party tickets are 100 percent tax deductible.

The African-American 490 Challenge is currently raising money to test the whopping 11,000 abandoned rape kits sitting in a Detroit police warehouse since in 2009. The money will go toward the ongoing process of processing untested kits and investigating the results. There are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country

“Together, we stand for justice,” Shahida Mausi, president and CEO of Right Productions said. “We are honored to make Chene Park the site for great artistry supporting a great mission.”

Wayne County prosecutor Kim Worthy has worked closely on this issue with Enough Said, the Michigan Women’s Foundation campaign and well as the AA490. She was once a lone crusader seeking justice for rape survivors whose kits sat untouched for years.

“This is a huge day for Enough SAID/AA490,” Worthy said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press. “Everyone knows that Erykah Badu is a major, major talent in the music and song-writing industry. For her to lend her name, talent and time to this work is nothing short of a miracle. Justice for these forgotten sexual assault victims has been given a phenomenal assist.”

Other contributors to the cause include a group of Black men across the Midwest who have announced that they, too, will join the campaign in solidarity with survivors seeking justice. What makes this campaign different is that it is a public-private partnership raising money for public use, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Circle, a Detroit-based Black women’s social issues group, as well as other organizers, hope to raise $50,000 towardAA490’s goal of $657,090 dollars by the year’s end.

“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,” said Kim Trent, president of the 490 Challenge. “We are very excited that she is lending her considerable talent to our cause.”

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Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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