Vic Mensa Performs New Song At #JusticeForFlint

With all the controversy surrounding the 88th Academy Awards all-white nominees for the second year in a row, many artists, actors and activists have all spoken out against “white Hollywood” in the months leading up to the Oscars. This debate has created a rise in cultural pride from artists in many different fields, and has led many artists to stand together to fight for more substantial causes and events. One of these causes is the current human rights crisis in Flint, Michigan.

After the city of Flint switched its water source to save money in 2014, lead began seeping into the city’s waterways. What’s most alarming, however, is that all the issues raised by residents were dismissed. The people of Flint have gone months without properly filtered, drinkable water since. Many artists including Meek Mill have reached into their pocket to help out, by donating drinking water.

On Sunday, while we all got ready to see how the Oscars would go down surrounded with such criticism, many A-list celebrities and artists were in Flint, Michigan at #JusticeForFlint benefit concert, presented by activist group Blackout for Human Rights, which took place at the city’s Whiting Auditorium.

Among the honour roll was: Janelle Monae, Jazmine Sullivan, Vic Mensa, Musiq Soulchild, Empire star Jussie Smollett, Ledisi, Andra Day, Robert Glasper, Jessie Williams, Jussie Smollett, Jamilah Lemieux, Jasiri X, Mysonne, Dej Loaf, Royce da 5’9, Denaun Porter and Flint native Jon Connor with special surprise guest Stevie Wonder.

Stevie Wonder turned up while the show was in progress, surprising even the organisers. “I’m too close to be so far away, and so I’m here in support,” Wonder said. Then he sang Love’s in Need of Today as well as joining Janelle Monae for Higher Ground.

Organisers insisted they were not trying to counter-program the Academy Awards, but gave the Oscars some serious competition in the night’s hashtags on Twitter.

“For us, this is not a hashtag,” Smollett told the packed crowd of 2,000 fans, most of them Flint-area natives attending for free. “This is so much more. We stand with you. We may not be residents of Flint, but we are Flint, Michigan.”

The event was hosted by comedian Hannibal Burress. Donations were accepted at the event via text message and all proceeds from this protest went directly to benefit all residents impacted by the water crisis.

There were plenty of treats throughout the night, one of which was Vic Mensa taking the opportunity to seek some justice of his own for Laquan McDonald, a Chicagoan on the long list of victims who’ve died at the hands of police.

He debuted the song 16 Shots named after the number of times McDonald was hit with police rounds. Listen to it below.

Image: United Blackout’s Twitter