Residents of Flint, Mich. have been suffering for the past couple of years because their drinking water has been poisoned due to the state government's incompetence. Now the hip-hop community is joining together to help the city.
The pictures of the city's drinking water in bottles are terrifying. The water flowing through aging pipes is exposed to dangerously high levels of lead and are affecting thousands of children in Flint, a city that is extremely poor and predominantly African-American with nearly 100,000 total residents. Lead poison is serious, damaging cognitive functions and behavior. The World Health Organization says the "neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible." The state and federal government have declared a state of emergency as result.
Essentially the problems happen when in April of 2014, the town's officials decided to tap the Flint River for water for the town -- previously they relied on water from Detroit and Lake Huron. The issue is Flint River is highly polluted from the town's manufacturing days plus farm runoff and sewage, but officials insisted it was safe to use. Why did they make the move? The city was so poor it was taken into state receivership. So officials were brought in to cut the city spending in 2011 and in 2013, those officials decided to make the transition to save the city about about $1 million a year. Soon after, the problems started immediately and by August of 2014, E. coli pollution in the water led to constant warnings for residents to boil their water. Crazy, right?
In October of 2015, the city switched back to Detroit's system however the lead levels are still too high and there is no timetable when Flint's drinking water will be back to normal. Many hip-hop artists have donated money and water bottles to the city. Here's a list of the hip-hop artists who are helping Flint's water crisis.
The Game donated $500,000 from his Robin Hood Project charity to Avita Water. Avita will match The Game’s donation of $500,000 to bring the donation to $1 million. He posted the receipt of his donation on Instagram.
"So, I’m on tour and not in the US as I’d like to be to help with this water crisis in Flint, Michigan first hand,” wrote the rapper as the caption. “One, because my younger sister and her children live there and second, because I care. Most celebs on here faking using the word ‘Pledge’ in their so called donations are not fooling anyone! The truth is the population in Flint, Michigan is about 105,000 people and it takes at least 9 bottles per person a day just to us to bathe, brush their teeth, drink and cook with…”
The Game also called out other celebrities -- on Instagram and TMZ -- for using the tragedy as a way to get into the spotlight. “Stop using others tragedies for your won celebrity gain…You’re not fooling ANYONE!” he continues. “I seen Madonna and Jimmy Fallon’s $10,000 donations…that’s cute, but not nearly enough.”
Eminem, Wiz Khalifa and Diddy
Diddy and his AQUAhydrate business partner, actor Mark Wahlberg, have pledged to donate one million bottles of water to local residents affected by the poisoned water infiltrating the city. They both have a large stake in the bottled water company. AQUAhydrate reps promised to send 5,000 cases of water to Flint and plan to continue providing additional cases of water to residents until the crisis has been resolved.
“The AQUAhydrate team is doing everything it can to help with this issue,” Diddy said. “Mark and I made an initial pledge to donate and are committed to the continued aid to Flint residents as long as they need it. We hope this commitment will inspire others to get involved as well.”
“I’m raising money to support the kids of Flint Michigan," he wrote. "Toxic water in Flint has rendered the water undrinkable and put the entire city in a state of emergency. Flint’s children were hit the hardest and some have experienced permanent and potentially devastating health defects from lead poisoning."
For people who donate through Sean, they'll be added into a raffle to meet the rapper and win tickets to his still-unannounced 2016 tour.
Most recently, Big Sean made an appearance on The Daily show where he told Trevor Noah that he’s raised about $100,000 for the citizens of Flint, Mich. through his foundation.
Meek Mill donated 60,000 bottles of fresh water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, as well as provided money to the Flint Child and Family Health Development Fund. Before he donated to Flint, Meek challenged the Queens, N.Y. superstar 50 Cent. The two are currently embroiled in a beef and to keep the momentum going, Meek challenged Fif to match his donations to help Flint residents.
DJ Mustard teams up with the Sean Anderson Foundation to match Big Sean’s donation of $10,000 in support of Heal Flint Kids fundraiser.
“As a father of two kids, the tragedy in Flint, Michigan hit home for me,” said DJ Mustard. “Shout out to Big Sean for starting this viral campaign. I hope my donation can encourage others to step up for an important cause.”
Pusha, along with two fellow Virginians, Dr. Melvin O. Marriner of Grove Baptist Church and Bishop Kim W. Brown, have donated 2,000 cases of water to the people of Flint.
Russell took time to visit Flint on Monday (Feb. 1), making door-to-door housecalls, talking to residents affected by the lead-laced water and passing out bottles of water.
Jon Connor, a Flint, MI native, has been in Flint since last week helping his family and volunteering time at the local Boys and Girls Club. Connor also dropped an anthem for the city called "Fresh Water for Flint" which premiered on XXL.
"I feel like I’m the voice of Flint," said Connor in an interview."So I’m just trying to verbalize how all the natives feel.”
Though he's a Chicago native, Vic Mensa has been very vocal about the situation in Flint these past few days. The Roc Nation rapper debuted a new song called "16 Shots" during the Justice for Flint event on Feb. 28 and has talked about the crisis extensively in recent interviews.