If you think Typhoon Haiyan is just a Filipino issue, you're dead wrong -- it's about humanity. It's the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall and the 25th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.
No one knows this better than local rapper/activist Odessa Kane, SDMA Best Hip-Hop Album 2013 winner, who hosted and headlined the Serve the People Emergency Relief's fundraiser at WorldBeat Center last Friday.
"Our main focus was letting the people in on the massive shift in climate change, illegal logging, deforestation and the many difficulties we face as Filipino people," Kane said about the grass-roots driven direct-relief campaign. "The response of the people was humbling and inspiring. Our message did not fall on deaf ears. They chanted with me, they felt my words, they felt the message of justice for the Philippines: Serve the People."
With the combined efforts from KMB ProPeopleYouth San Diego, Odessa Kane, Makeda "Dread" Cheatom and DJ Kuttin Kandi, organizers were able to produce the fundraiser in just nine days.
"I attribute the high level of organizing skills to Ree Obana Quinones of KMB," Kane said.
The event had no missteps and was able to surpass its financial goals, thanks to generous donations from the local business owners and residents who attended the event. For many, it was their first time stepping foot inside the WorldBeat Center. For Dread, the executive director and founder of the center, it was an easy decision to use her space to help the typhoon victims; in fact, she said, Filipinos helped raise her.
The event attracted a diverse musical lineup, with DJ Artistic, DJ Pacman, Sherwin Ginez, DJ Kuttin Kandi, Katriz Trinidad, Soul Ablaze, Tres Sojourn Hodgens, No Reception, Amy Monzon and Rocky Rey all performing. Kane introduced Rey as his "youngin' and comrade" who's a newcomer to the local hip-hop scene.
Rey reflected on the typhoon's devastation: "I'm heartbroken yet again. I question: Why is it always 'reigning' on the poor? Being a part of the STP event was one of the most important and inspirational shows I've ever had the honor of participating in."
The Queens-born and raised Kuttin Kandi, the first and only female DJ to make it to the DMC USA Finals and a 1998 Source Magazine DJ Champion, knew that organizing through music was a must.
Music. Community. Culture.
"Because of the hurt that happened in our homeland, we had to put together our hearts, our minds, our talents, our brilliancy, to organize this together," she said. "This is mass movement and this is what it means to serve the people."
Approximately 4.4 million were displaced by the typhoon (a million of whom are children). More than 26,000 were injured, over 5,600 have lost their lives, and 1,759 are still missing. The numbers are staggering and continue to rise.
The Serve the People organizers will also be taking part, along with the city of San Diego's mayor's Office and many local Filipino organizations, in a candlelight vigil fundraiser on Friday at the United Domestic Workers of America headquarters. For more info.
Full disclosure: Odessa Kane is the brother of blogger Dita Quinones -- Ed.
Dita Quiñones is a multimedia journalist born in Tijuana with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. Her main goal is to uplift and inform so that the Latino and Hip-Hop community get knitted into the fabric of American history. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, FOX News Latino, Poder, VidaVibrante, and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter.