Hip-hop’s roots run far and deep in the voices of the voiceless, and the struggle of the streets.
The TIDAL X Brooklyn benefit concert, the third annual effort put forth by the streaming service for a number of causes supporting relief and aid, does honor to such history. Raising up to $3.7 million, the concert drew in fans from all over New York to gather at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to grant aid for natural disaster relief and recovery efforts for the string of catastrophes striking the nation in recent months. Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria and the 4.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Central Mexico are some of the most urgent and have been on the forefront of TIDAL’s philanthropic focus as well.
New York’s finest such as Jay-Z, Jadakiss and Fabolous topped things off toward the end of the night, while fresh talents like A-Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Tee Grizzley and Cardi B kicked things off. Long-time-no-see legends like Stevie Wonder also graced fans while Puerto Rican icons like Daddy Yankee surprised and energized the crowd too. Group performances from Fat Joe, who has been a major force in the ground relief efforts, and his Terror Squad femcee Remy Ma stole the show and DJ Khaled made sure to grab his Grateful collaborators for a show-stopping stage medley as well.
BET.com caught up with some of this year’s performers (and hostesses) at the show to learn more about not only why they’re stepping up to lend a helping hand, but what the TIDAL X Brooklyn operation should mean for everyone.
“We need money. That’s just the truth. It’s going to take a lot of money to fix this, and that’s why we encourage everybody to donate. But, also you can call. Call Congressmen and let them know that you’re not happy about how things are being handled and that they are not doing enough. People are dying every day, people need medicine, people need electricity, people need generators and we need these roads cleaned. Call your officials, and if you flood those phones, it will make a difference. That doesn’t cost you anything.” – Angie Martinez
“To begin with, hip-hop doesn’t exist without Puerto Rico. Hip-hop was founded by Blacks and Puerto Ricans in the Bronx, hand in hand. There’s no other version of the events. I feel that hip-hop needs to be a leading spearhead in the charge for relief efforts because we owe it all to Puerto Rico. On top of that, we have an idiot in office that is completely unconcerned with the life and death matters of colored people or people of color. So, as people of color, I feel that we have a great responsibility to support each other. We’re clearly not going to get that support from the power structure.
I’ve always been able to see inequality firsthand. Chicago is very segregated, and I’ve always lived on the Southside, but primarily went to school on the Northside or near downtown. So, I’ve always had a window to how poorly some can live next door to those eating like kings. That’s never sat well with me.
We can’t forget. People have such short attention spans these days, I mean, we’re engineered that way. We don’t have to be victims to the ever-changing, 24-hour news cycle. We don’t have to forget about Puerto Rico tomorrow because somebody comes up with a new #ForTheP***y challenge. Keep it relevant, keep it current and try to just spread information. Even if you don’t have it, you may spark the mind that is in more of a position to help.” – Vic Mensa
“I certainly think that the example of Carnival Cruise [Lines] are sending cruise ships to the island of Puerto Rico to bring people to Florida. Those are sustainable utilizations of resources of large, capitalist income that could be so wonderful. So, why don’t all of these great companies use their planes and jets to send people where they need them.” – Princess Nokia
“It’s important for the younger generation to be involved and understand what’s going on in our world, period — outside of just the natural disasters.
The revolution is made by the youth. The old people come up with the ideas and stuff, but it’s the youth that are on the ground and running and moving and changing things. It’s up to us, and it’s literally in our hands to make change happen. It’s been happening, though, which has been great. It’s been an amazing response from people around the world within the ages of 18 to even 30. People are really reaching out and trying to fix things. There’s still a long way to go, and there’s still a lot of junk on television that we get thrown off by. But, I think help is definitely on the way.
TIDAL is making sure that the supplies and money is being allocated to the places they need to go instead of going into some huge fund. It’s literally us trying to help us.” – Mack Wilds
“I want people to realize what’s going on. Even if things change, for bad or good, I want people to know that people support change and fixing things. People can actually physically help. It’s not just money. Most of the time, the money is given to people to do jobs that will help. Volunteer instead of just giving money.” – A-Boogie Wit Da Hoodie