Local artist sings for Haiti relief

January 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The first in a series of fundraising concerts kicked off in Oakland Thursday night with a goal of raising $100,000 for Haitian relief and one local artist is spearheading the effort.

The concert happened at the Historic Sweets Ballroom. Bay Area artists who have made it big over the years used their star power in hopes of bringing in donations.

Oakland native D'Wayne Wiggins is well known for his hit songs from the late 80s and early 90s with his R&B group, Tony! Toni! Tone! He performs dozens of times a year, but Thursday night held special meaning.

"I feel very fortunate that I have the name where I can use that to support others," said Wiggins.

Wiggins said all of the money raised from the concert will go toward Haiti relief. He recruited other Bay Area groups to perform as well ranging from the up and coming to established artists like E-40, Club Nouveau and Too $hort.

"I think it's a great opportunity so we can see locally that talent does come together to contribute to a cause such as Haiti," said Nakeyma Randle, a donor.

City leaders came to show their support, including Mayor Ron Dellums and City Councilwoman Jean Quan.

"I've been to at least a dozen events at restaurants and bake sales at schools and people giving a percentage of their profits all over the East Bay and the Oakland response has been amazing," said Quan.

And the hope is that the amazing response will continue for as long as it can. Haiti humanitarian activist Walter Riley was in Haiti during the quake.

"People are just starting to assess the amount of suffering. Those people who had to have amputations are starting to feel the pain. Where are they going right now? in a society that couldn't deal with healthy people with no employment, people with these tremendous disabilities are going to have an even greater time," said Riley.

Wiggins hopes to raise $100,000 from Thursday's event and a few others he has planned in the coming days.

"If we stop a lot less thinking about ourselves and how we can support the world, because it's all one world at the end of the day, if they suffer, we suffer," said Wiggins.

The event was scheduled to wrap up around 1 a.m.


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