In 2009, 11,341 untested rape kits were discovered in an abandoned storage unit in Detroit. It costs $490 to test each one of them, and Erykah Badu has pledged to help bring the number of the remaining rape kits down to zero by donating a portion of the proceeds from every single one of her concerts to the cause.
At a performance in the Motor City on August 12, Badu renewed her commitment to the African American 490 Challenge, a nonprofit organization working to raise funds to eradicate Detroit’s rape kit backlog, by upping her contribution. She had previously offered some of the proceeds from her August 12 event to the AA490 Challenge, and worked with them back in July to further their goal.
“I pledge to raise the same amount of money with each show that I do until we raise this money,” she said. “I’m with it. I think it’s one of the most important things I could do ... I hope that this venture gives peace to some of us who are victims and some of us who are not.”
After the concert, Badu continued to stress the importance of getting involved with an organization like AA490 Challenge.
“What we’re talking about is unsolved, unopened rape kits, unsolved in Detroit alone, that went unsolved and dusty,” she said after the concert. “I’m very proud to be a part of that [effort to solve the cases]. We are all victims. When one of us is a victim, we are all victims. We are champions for many young women and boys who don’t have a voice.”