By Sandra Segura
On Thursday night (January 21), Washington, D.C. rapper Wale rocked the party in the name of charity and good will at last night’s Hands for Haiti Benefit Concert at Howard University. 1,500 people crammed into Crampton Auditorium for the MC’s extra-boisterous blend of hip-hop that, for at least one night, was delivered in the spirit of charity. Because of the desperate need for resources and aid in Haiti, 100 percent of the proceeds from the concert — a grand total of over $15,000 — will go toward the Haiti Relief Fund.
Wale’s set was the centerpiece, but there was also dancing, singing, rapping, and spoken-word pieces performed by students, alumni and local D.C. artists, highlighted by the solemn, moving performance by spoken-word artist and Howard alum Messiah. With every break in the program, students danced in the aisles and waved Haitian flags in support of earthquake victims on the island.
When Wale took the stage in the headlining spot and did not disappoint. His stage presence alone brought everyone up to their feet and rushing to the front of the theater. He clearly thrives in intimate venues like this, as he hopped off the stage to perform top tracks like “Nike Boots,” “90210” and “Beautiful Bliss” amidst a sea of singing, arm-waving fans. Everybody walked out happy, not only because they saw an excellent night of music and song but also because they did their bit to reach out to disaster victims in Port-au-Prince.