R&B singer Khalid announced he will be organizing a benefit concert for the families of the victims of the mass shooting that took place at a Walmart in El Paso on August 3rd.
On August 3rd and 4th, two mass shootings shook the US. The first shooting, which took place in El Paso at the Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall, killed 22 people and injured two dozen others. El Paso Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Robert Gomez said during a news conference following the attack that the store was “at capacity,” during the time of the shooting.
The shooting suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, Texas. The 21-year-old white supremacist was charged with capital murder and is being held without bond. Police stated that Crusius wrote and posted a 2,300-word manifesto titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” to 8chan, an online messaging board. In the document, Crusius stated that he wanted to stop a “Hispanic Invasion of Texas,” along with other hate-filled language targeting Latinos.
The second shooting took place at Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton, Ohio, less than 24 hours after the first shooting. Police said the suspected shooter, 24-year-old Connor Betts, killed nine people, including his 22-year-old sister, Megan Betts and injured 27 others during the attack. Betts reportedly wore body armor and carried multiple rounds of ammunition. Police shot and killed him a minute into the attack.
Khalid, who is an El Paso native, tweeted on August 5 that he had been thinking about how to help the families over the past two days. He told his Twitter followers that singing his songs “915” and “city of El Paso,” which are dedicated to his hometown, on the tour for his latest album, “Free Spirit,” has been “indescribable” following the shooting.
“Over the past few days, my mind and heart have been heavy. Hearing/seeing an act of terrorism happen so close to home, my family, and my friends has been unbelievable and shocking. Singing “915” and “city of El Paso” on tour every night feels indescribable.”
“Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking of ways to help out and support the city,” he continued in a second tweet. “I’m planning for a benefit concert later this month, all of the proceeds will go to the families affected by the shooting. Sending everyone my love and will keep you guys updated.”
The singer has a history of giving back to his community. The 21-year-old is the founder of the Great Khalid Foundation, which provides students and schools with music education, scholarships, and community partnerships.
“I created a foundation that supports music [and] schools in underserved communities,” the singer said in a statement on the foundation’s website. “It starts in El Paso and my goal is to provide resources and help bridge education and prominent music programs in the city.”
Other celebrities and artists have banded together to help communities following mass shootings. In June 2017, singer Ariana Grande held the One Love Manchester concert to raise money for those affected by the suicide bombing that took place outside of her concert at Manchester Arena in May that same year.
During the attack, 22 people were killed and over 59 people were injured, NBC News previously reported. The main suspect, Salman Abedi, was killed during the bombing. A few days after the attack, the pop singer released a statement saying she would return to Manchester for a benefit concert.
“From the day we started putting the Dangerous Woman Tour together, I said that this show, more than anything else, was intended to be a safe space for my fans. A place for them to escape, to celebrate, to heal, to feel safe, and to be themselves. To meet their friends they’ve met online. To express themselves. This will not change that,” her statement read.
The sold-out benefit concert was organized 13 days after the shooting. Grande called on celebrities like Mac Miller, Katy Perry, Chris Martin, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Justin Bieber, Liam Gallagher, and many others to help her perform and raise money. The British Red Cross said the concert raised close to $13 million, for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
The benefit concert, “A Night for Suncity,” will be held September 1 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. As announced by the Great Khalid Foundation,
“Proceeds from the concert will directly benefit the victims of the horrific act of gun violence that the El Paso Community recently experienced.”
To learn more about helping those who were impacted by the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, click here.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.