There’s no debate that music can unify people across generations, continents, and socioeconomic backgrounds, but when you add social media and technology to the mix, the real magic happens. That’s what we’ve learned from D-Nice’s “Club Quarantine” series and last night’s Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds/Teddy Riley live battle that pretty much broke Instagram for a time. Lighthearted entertainment that hearkens back to better times is necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this week, you’ll have another opportunity to celebrate Old School Cool. The Universal Hip Hop Museum and Mass Appeal have teamed up with YouTube to present Hip Hop Loves NY, a live-streamed concert set to air on April 23rd at 6 p.m. that will benefit healthcare workers on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.
“Hip Hop has a history of supporting the community in times of crisis, [so] we wanted to harness the power of music as a means to heal and reflect our humanity,” said Mass Appeal CEO Peter Bittenbender in a press release. “The event is both an elevation of the [New York] community and an acknowledgment of the effect of coronavirus on all of us. We're grateful to be a part of this."
As you know, New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., and the state, especially Black New Yorkers and those living in economically-challenged communities, is suffering. So the Hip Hop community is coming together to honor and thank the heroic healthcare workers who are sacrificing their own safety and resources to care for patients infected with COVID-19.
“[This pandemic] has shed light on the health and economic disparities in Black and Brown communities as African Americans and Latinos are dying at a disproportionately higher rate,” said Rocky Bucano, executive director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, in a press release. “This is a result of underlying health issues and major economic gaps in our city. The courage and the tenacity of the frontline healthcare workers serving in the most vulnerable populations is nothing short of heroic. We wanted to do something special to recognize their sacrifice and bring a little levity during this historic health crisis. This is how Hip Hop says thank you."
All proceeds from the benefit concert will be donated to SOMOS Community Care, which is a network of healthcare providers in the Bronx; Queens; Manhattan; and Brooklyn committed to ensuring better care for Medicaid members, and The Bronx Community Relief Effort, which “was born in the South Bronx immediately after the Coronavirus hit New York City. The Effort aims to raise $10 million to support effective, on-the-ground operations that are focused on meeting the most essential needs of the Bronx community. This includes filling gaps in public financing and broader grant programs. Donations collected are distributed in real-time within the community to those in critical need,” according to its website. Text-to-PLEDGE will be the official event donation provider.
The Universal Hip Hop Museum and Mass Appeal have already confirmed Video Music Box’s Ralph McDaniels as host, and Ice T, Kurtis Blow, Mike Epps, De La Soul, Naughty by Nature, Biz Markie, Dave East, Chuck D, Kid N Play, Sugar Hill Gang, Big Daddy Kane, and more are set to appear. In addition, frontline medical workers will share “poignant stories of struggle and hope,” and politicians and community leaders will offer words of comfort and support during the benefit concert.
“We know that the Bronx has Hip Hop heroes, but, we also have healthcare heroes who need to be celebrated,” said Assemblyman Michael Blake in a press release. “From Montefiore to Lincoln Hospital, from St. Barnabas to Bronxcare, that one beat or perfect verse might give the energy to our nurses, doctors, maintenance workers, clerical aides, hospital staff, patients, and their families to press on for one more day.”
Socialive, a video creation and live-streaming platform will push Hip Hop Loves NY across the Universal Hip Hop Museum’s social media — Facebook and Instagram — and it will stream live on the Mass Appeal YouTube channel on Thursday, April 23rd from 6 to 9 p.m.