“How do you survive without water? You can’t. It’s at the bare minimum of survival,” says Ernesto "Eroc" Arroyo-Montano, co-organizer of Hip Hop 4 Flint in Boston. It’s one of the benefit shows scheduled to take place in 52 cities around the world this Saturday, March 19. New Bedford, Springfield and Providence are also planning performances. “When I first saw the photos, the pictures, when I started to read the articles I became enraged. … If you can’t give people their basic needs the rest doesn’t matter.”
The Boston show begins at 5 p.m. at the 1199 SEIU (Service Employees International Union) hall, 150 Mt. Vernon St., suite 300, Dorchester. Tickets are on a sliding scale: $10 to $20 for adults and $5 for those younger than 18. (“No one will be turned away for lack of funds.”)
Hip Hop 4 Flint was launched nationally by activist rapper YoNasDa Lonewolf to raise funds to purchase water filters for homes in Flint. Water in the Michigan city has been poisoned with lead since the community switched water supplies in April 2014 while being overseen by a state-appointed emergency manager. One of the benefit project’s national organizers recruited Arroyo-Montano (who raps with OpTimus in the Boston duo Foundation Movement) to set up a Boston event after seeing him posting to Facebook about Flint.
The Boston event looks to be an epic show with Eve Ewing and Mr. PSA hosting for some 28 rappers and poets, including DeeJay Daz-One, Letia Larok, Natural Bliss, Raheem Jamal, Daniel Laurent, Mark Merren, Shalom, Foundation Movement, Bakari JB, Lady Enchantress, Mistah Parker, DiDi Delgado, Professor Lyrical, WiZ, SublimeLuv, Michelle La Poetica, PunQrose, Rhea Ranno, Rogue Butterfly, Relentless, the truth, Cam Concious, Jonathan Gramling, Dilanna Morrison, Cole Rodriguez and Mike Henry.
“I want this to be that you’re not coming for a specific artists, you’re coming for the event,” Arroyo-Montano says. But, he adds, “I think people will be surprised by how much talent we have in Boston.”