Grammy-winning R&B singer Maxwell. (Shutterstock)

Two R&B superstars are headed to the D this weekend–but entertaining concertgoers won’t be the only thing on the agenda. 

Grammy-winning R&B singer Maxwell and Grammy nominee Tamia kick off the weekend with two benefit concerts at the Aretha Amphitheatre at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The performances, called the “Concert of Hope,” will have proceeds go toward services for the unhoused.

The concerts are part of the inaugural Community of Hope weekend, a partnership between the city of Detroit, the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) and The Right Productions, Inc. The initiative was created to inspire and deliver community support and engagement solutions for the homeless population in metro Detroit, according to a news release. 

“Uplifting people through music is what The Aretha is all about,” said The Right Productions CEO Shahida Mausi in a news release. “NSO has a long-standing history of providing programs, services, and resources that empower families and individuals.” 

There are limited seats available in the upper and lower bowl for both concerts, but fans looking to go can still purchase lawn seats on the Ticketmaster website. Lawn admission for Friday’s show is $69.50, while the price for Saturday’s show is $115. 

Providing a ‘Day of Hope’

On Sunday, the weekend festivities will come to a close with a “Day of Hope” at Cass Park in Midtown. From 1-5 p.m., the city, NSO and The Right Productions will provide access to wraparound resources for unhoused people, such as connections to housing, health screenings and vaccinations, showers and other hygiene resources as well as job readiness training and employment resources. The event will also include a concert from gospel artist and Detroit native Karen Clark Sheard. 

“This collaboration was created to inspire our community in a push for affordable housing that is truly affordable and bring together stakeholders who love, live, work and play in Detroit so that we can work together to create housing solutions and address the housing crisis that affects us all,” NSO President and CEO Linda Little added in the news release. 

The Homeless Action Network of Detroit (HAND), an agency that serves the unhoused population in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck, reported 5,687 people experiencing homelessness in 2021, the latest year available. Out of that total, 1,120 people were considered chronically homeless, meaning the person has been diagnosed with a long-term disabling condition and has been homeless four or more times in the past three years, or has been homeless one year continuously with that disabling condition. According to HAND’s report, 69% of the chronically homeless population are male, with 40% over the age of 55. 

In addition, 519 families and 481 young people between the ages of 18-24 experienced homelessness in 2021. 

“The unhoused population within the city of Detroit needs high quality mental and physical healthcare, along with safe and stable housing. We want them to know we are working on their behalf to partner with experts like NSO and The Rights Productions to deliver the best resources that produce long-term solutions,” said Keith Flournoy, deputy director of the Detroit Parks and Recreation department. “Community of Hope is another reminder to our city’s most vulnerable individuals that we are here, we understand their needs, and are working to help.”

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