Back in 2009, prosecutors in Detroit, Michigan discovered a warehouse containing 11,341 untested rape kits. (The Detroit Police Department’s crime lab had been shuttered the year before after an audit exposed numerous errors in its processing of cases.) Since then, the African American 490 Challenge has worked to raise money to perform the necessary procedures on the kits and investigate the results. (The 490 in the group’s name refers to the $490 it costs to process each kit.) The campaign has largely been a success, with 10,000 kits finished. Now, the group is getting a high-profile assist in its efforts, with musician Erykah Badu pledging to give money from an upcoming concert to help the group reach its goal—and partially fund the investigations that will follow receipt of the results.
$5 from each ticket sold at Badu’s August 12 concert at Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheater will go toward AA490, a partner of the Michigan Women’s Foundation’s Enough SAID program. Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy—whose office is responsible for the investigations, and who was forced to admit back in 2009 that government funding was unavailable to deal with the backlog—praised the efforts, saying, “This is a huge day for Enough SAID/AA490. Everyone knows that Erykah Badu is a major, major talent in the music and song-writing industry. For her to lend her name, talent and time to this work is nothing short of a miracle. Justice for these forgotten sexual assault victims has been given a phenomenal assist.”
Badu has been making musical headlines over the last few months, releasing a recent mixtape, paying tribute to Prince at the recent BET Awards, and dropping a popular remix of Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”