Hip-Hop for Haiti
Romeo collects books for kids without schools
On the same day that a massive 8.8 earthquake hit Chile in South America, a concert to benefit Haiti was taking place at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
A devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti on January 12. To help the poverty-stricken country recover, hip-hop artist Romeo and his father, Master P, held a concert. Admission included donating books for Haitian kids so that they can get back on track with their education. Schools have yet to reopen seven weeks after the earthquake.
For Romeo, the tragedy in Haiti hit close to home.
"I'm from New Orleans and when Hurricane Katrina hit I was affected," Romeo said. "I just wanted to do something to give back." The 21-year-old hip-hop artist and actor is majoring in business and film studies at the University of South Carolina. He also plays on the USC basketball team.
"I wanted to bring families together and show awareness of what's going on in Haiti and try to build a school out there," Romeo told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. "Hopefully this is the beginning of everything."
When the earthquake hit Haiti, many schools crumbled into stones. As a result, kids have been missing out on their education as their country struggles to rebuild. This is where Master P wants to make a difference.
"I want to make sure that kids read and get back to the basics—get back to school and using their imagination," he said. "I want to see the kids get the opportunity to do stuff after this horrible devastation is over and they have to get back into reality."
During the indoor concert, heavy rains poured outside. The weather did not dampen the spirits of the 3,000 audience members or the performers.
"I want to give back," said Anna Marie Perez De Tagle, who played Ashley DeWitt on the TV show Hannah Montana and had a role in the movie Camp Rock. "I feel awesome to be doing this with some of my friends. I get to do some dancing and singing. It's an amazing time."
Performances also included the College Boyys, Cymphonique and the Fabulous Girls, Lil' King, and Lil' Fresh Boyz.
"I think that American kids should remember that we're all one and we're all the same, no matter what we look like," said host Kyla Pratt from the movie Hotel for Dogs. "We should just support each other in every single way, and be grateful that we have what we do have here."
Romeo summed it up.
"I love the kids and I do everything for the kids," he said. "I'm always going to be here for them."
For more information, check out the I Heart Haiti Kids website.
CRISIS IN HAITI
Check out the Kid Reporters' special report Crisis in Haiti for more information on the country and how to help.
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Mariam El Hasan is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.