Erykah Badu to Donate Concert Proceeds to Process Untested Rape Kits

July 13th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Erykah Badu will donate a portion of the proceeds from an upcoming concert in Detroit to a campaign working to process untested rape kits, The Detroit Free Press reported.

Badu's contribution will benefit the African American 490 Challenge, a group that has partnered with Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit) to test the remainder of a backlog of more than 11,300 rape kits. The untested kits were found in Detroit Police Department storage in 2009.

Since one of her colleagues discovered the backlog, Wayne County, Michigan prosecutor Kym Worthy, also a survivor of sexual assault, has dedicated herself to getting the rape kits logged and tested, according to The Daily Beast.

The bulk of the backlog — about 10,000 kits — have been processed, an effort funded by grassroots campaigning and private donations, as Jezebel pointed out. The outstanding untested kits each cost $490 to test.


"The great majority of the victims of these unsolved crimes are black women," the African American 490 Challenge explains on their Crowd Rise fundraising website. "Our mothers. Our sisters. Our daughters. Our neighbors. Our aunts. Our cousins. Our friends. Women who look and live like us. Now is the time for black women to use our voices and resources to show sexual assault victims that they have not been forgotten."

Why people want to end the rape kit backlog.

rape kit backlogs image

Case Western University researchers recently released the results of tests on a similar backlog of Ohio rape kits. The investigation revealed valuable insights about differences between serial rapists and one-time offenders.

Still, we don't know exactly how many untested rape kits are out there.

"There is no federal law mandating a nationwide movement toward tracking and testing rape kits, despite efforts by some members of Congress to pass such legislation," End the Backlog, an organization dedicated to tracking and testing backlogged rape kits across the U.S., explains. "However a growing number of states, all across the country, are making real reforms to end the backlog."

rape kit backlogs

Worthy praised Badu's generosity and support in a statement reported by The Free Press.

"This is a huge day for Enough SAID/AA490,” Worthy said. “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.”

You can purchase a ticket to the August 12 concert in Detroit on Ticketmaster and donate to the the African American 490 Challenge on Crowd Rise.

[h/t Jezebel]