Every Drop Counts achieved its goal of raising support for Haiti earthquake victims. But it turned out to be more than just a benefit concert. Because in the process of taking action a movement began.
After my interview about the making of EDC with host Aja Monet, I had a strong feeling that the concert would be one of the most unique live music experiences I’ve been a part of in some time. And that it was. Beyond benefiting Haiti and raising over $14,000, the concert also turned out to be a special night of dedication, purpose and community.
The concert demonstrated that the Chicago hip hop community has the ability to show it’s solidarity and quickly assemble and take action for a greater cause. Over 400 people piled into Reggie’s Rock Club and for over 4 hours Chicago’s best and most promising hip hop acts and artists from other cities came together to give fans a show to remember.
Artists performed quick 2-3 song sets creating a constant flow of energy that made the night glide by. It didn’t matter that the Grammys were going on at the same time because Reggie’s was where the party was at and the community of groove wasn’t going to be denied.
Keeping the flow going was no easy task either. But Monet successfully balanced the night mixing party with purpose.
There were moments of reflection and protest that encouraged unity as Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. and Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti anchored the night galvanizing fans with powerful poems inspired by and dedicated to Haiti.
Wrapped around the spoken word and poetry performances were sets by a long list of performers. It was a mix of club anthems and soulfully righteous beat and rhymes. Chicago rappers Hollywood Holt and Mic Terror dropped bombs exploding with electro-boogie swagger and Chi-town bling leading fans to “Juke for Haiti!”
Chicago stalwart emcee/producer Rhymefest unloaded a moving medley and freestyled versions of “Bullet” and “More.” And emcee Mickey Halsted rhymed socially conscious stories with a flow that took our hearts and minds to higher ground.
I give props to all the performers for making it a night to remember and for donating their time to support Haiti. But for me it was California-based hip hop R& B siren Mystic who captured the essence of Every Drop Counts. She bowed at the waist as she unfurled the captivating chorus of “Beautiful Resistance,” soothing our minds and gently crooning “…I belong to you…you belong to me…” It was a magical moment of mystical unity that knit us all together as one.
The Live Fix Community Enters the Movement
As I mentioned at the start, this was more than just an average concert, especially for our Live Fix Community because, about halfway through the show, Monet quieted the crowd to reflect on one of the purposes of Every Drop Counts.
Then, to my surprise, she took out her iPhone and began to read an excerpt from our interview right there onstage. She read the part where I asked about how she thinks activism will influence the artist’s performance and what EDC means for the Chicago hip hop community long term.
I felt honored when it happened and it gives me great pleasure to share it with you via the video below. This was the first time that the words on Live Fix have ever been read during a live show. And by Monet doing what she did, she brought you right into the heart of the movement and made you a part of EDC experience.
I’m also excited that she read the interview onstage directly from her iPhone because it was a rare moment where three things I love and believe in (social media, live hip hop and interviewing) all converged. This moment further shows how the live music experience continues to involve and be redefined. It shows how a live concert, mobile technology and the written word were used to magically and organically create a community of interactivity within the live music experience.
Like I said, the moment caught me by surprise so I quickly whipped out my Blackberry and shot the video below as I stood on the side of the stage. I apologize for the low light but you’ll still be able to see just enough and clearly hear what Monet says feel the emotional vibe of the crowd. The video starts a few seconds after she began and what I’ve just explained brings you up to speed and then the video will take you the rest of the way.
Thanks again to the Every Drops Community. And may we never, ever forget the power of live music and how it can be used to change lives and support others! As always, my prayers and thoughts continue to go out to all the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Visit Every Drop Counts via (website), Twitter and Facebook.
Were you at Every Drop Counts? What did you think? What did you feel?
All photos by Colleen Catania