Benefit concert crowds Triple Rock

By Annie Lewine

The “Hip Hop Justice” benefit concert last Saturday raised about $2,600 for the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund. According to organizer Tsione Wolde-Michael ’08, the concert, arranged by Macalester’s Black Liberation Affairs Committee and the University of Minnesota’s Students for a Democratic Society, drew over 500 attendees.”We got awareness for the issue, we got people to the forum and we raised a significant amount of money for the Legal Defense Fund,” Wolde-Michael said. “[The venue] was completely sold out. We were filled to fire capacity.”

The venue, Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, was completely sold out relatively early in the evening, and people were turned away at the door.

“We had tons of people,” said Legacy Russell ’08, who was involved with planning the event. “A lot of people couldn’t get in, which kind of defeated the purpose of raising money because we had people willing to make the donation to the fund.”

Triple Rock stopped selling tickets before the last bus had left Macalester, leaving several people waiting outside hoping to get in, according to Wolde-Michael.

“I felt bad for those people,” Wolde-Michael said. “We wanted to try and let more people in as people trickled out, but it’s their policy that when they’re filled to fire capacity they have to stop selling tickets. We told people to get tickets in advance, so we did our job, but I still felt bad.”

In addition to the event’s success in drawing students off campus and raising money for the Legal Defense Fund, the concert was a success in terms of Macalester’s collaboration with the University of Minnesota, according to the event’s organizers.

“Working with Macalester BLAC was a great help, and funding from Macalester made the show possible,” said Jim Forrey, a fourth year student at the University of Minnesota who is involved in UMN-SDS. “[It was] very successful, even above initial expectations.UMN-SDS will work with Macalester again, and we are currently making bonds with Mac-SDS.”

BLAC is currently working with Minnesota N.I.C.E. (a New Initiative Concerned with the Expansion of hip hop campus culture) to organize future events.

“We’re trying to figure out something for the spring,” Russell said. “But given the time and energy that went into planning this event, there won’t be another one as big for at least a couple months.