Erykah Badu Is Donating Concert Proceeds To Test Abandoned Rape Kits In Detroit

In a time when the news is often depressing and discouraging, it’s that much more important to recognize that there are small steps being taken towards positive change. In that vein, singer-songwriter and activist Erykah Badu is donating to test abandoned rape kits that were found in Detroit. A portion of the proceeds from her Aug. 12 concert at Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheater will go to The African American 490 Challenge, which is “a movement to bring justice to thousands of sexual assault victims in Detroit,” according to the website.

About 11,300 untested rape kits were found by Wayne County, Michigan prosecutor Kym Worthy in a Detroit police station back in 2009. Since then, 10,000 of the kits have been tested, but the cost to test the remaining kits is a whopping $490 each. According to The Detroit Free Press, the 490 Challenge will get $5 from each ticket sale, proceeds from the $100 tickets for a reception before the concert, and part of the $1,000 tickets for a VIP reception with Badu after the show.

In a statement on behalf of African American 490 Challenge’s, Worthy said of Badu’s contribution: “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.”

RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, explains that a rape kit (also be referred to as a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit) is a container including a checklist, materials, and instructions, along with envelopes and containers to package any specimens collected during the exam.

The exam itself takes multiple hours and is a very invasive process. It’s beyond unfortunate that women undergo this procedure only to have their evidence sit and collect dust, while their rapists are in no way held accountable for the crimes they committed.

It’s not just a problem in Detroit either. In Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal segment “Rape Kit Backlog,” the late-night host addressed some of the many states that have super lenient rape kit protocol, including Virginia, Texas, and every single other state. Watch here: 

Hopefully Badu’s donation will spark others to make sure these kits get tested so rapists can be prosecuted. Clearly, we still have a long way to go.