The sound of basketballs bouncing against hardwood floors in the Danieley Phoenix Activities and Recreation Center was replaced with booming music and an applauding audience Friday night at “Helping Hands United: A Benefit Concert for Caribbean Island Hurricane Relief.”
The event raised over $1,600 to be donated to organizations helping with relief efforts in the Caribbean Islands and Puerto Rico.
Senior Kellcee Batchelor has been planning the event since October, and it is a passion project he said he knew he had to bring to fruition.
“Music sits at the cusp of where it can push the boundary in a positive way or it can push the boundary in a negative way,” Batchelor said. “I think it’s our job as artists, as activists – whether we want to call ourselves that or not – to try to push the boundary forward in the most positive way possible."
Not only did Batchelor organize the event, but he also performed under his stage name, “K.FRESHH,” along with six other local artists.
David Linares '17 now works as a DJ and producer under the stage name, “Lesser Bay,” and returned to Elon University to perform. Linares is Puerto Rican and still has family living there in the aftermath of the hurricanes. He said this concert was a special opportunity for him to help his family by doing something he loves.
“Reaching out and making personal connections with people you don’t even know, just with something you made in your bedroom, is always the coolest part for me,” Linares said. “I saw some guy breakdancing during one of my songs. That was really cool, and he was breakdancing for a good cause.”
Over 15 campus organizations came together to make the concert happen, including Elon’s chapter of Chi Upsilon Sigma, a Latina-oriented sorority. Senior and chapter secretary Kaitlin Laureano's grandmother lives alone in Puerto Rico and is still without power. She said as a university with a global initiative, it’s important for the Elon community to participate in events like this.
“How could you call yourself a global citizen if there’s somebody who needs your help and you’re not doing your part?” Laureano said. “We should all step in and help any way we can.”
Batchelor said that beyond being students or artists, people have to be human first and act with compassion to help others.
“You never know when you’re the next tragedy, and then when you’re the next tragedy, you want everyone to care," Batchelor said. "I think that we as people have to really shift and move into this selfless place."
For him, Batchelor said that selfless place comes from his faith.
“I think God cares, so I think God would want me to care, and I think it’s that simple,” Batchelor said.
All of the artists volunteered to perform at the concert, and Caribbean and Latinx catering was provided free of charge from Aramark. Security was funded by Student Government Association and lighting production was provided by Limelight Records. Funds from the benefit concert will go towards Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, Unidos por Puerto Rico, and International Relief Teams.