Grammy winner performs for Haiti


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Sid Mali wanted to give back.

After seeing the devastation in Haiti, Mali knew the right cause. He reached out to his friends in the music industry, and the result is the J. Holiday Pre-Valentine’s concert at 7 p.m. Friday in the IMU Main Lounge. Admission is $25; a portion of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross to benefit Haiti relief.

J. Holiday is a Grammy-nominated R&B star. His songs “Bed” and “Suffocate” were back-to-back No. 1 singles on the R&B charts in 2007. Other acts at the concert will include J. Miracle featuring Keys Davis, T. Gaines, and Zaya of Big Bang.

Thisis50.com, the popular urban blogging site created by rapper 50 Cent, will film the performance.
“It’s going to be a very great event,” Mali said. “I’m very excited that [50 Cent] even offered his company to come and film.”

In addition to the concert, Mali launched a campaign called “Hawks for Haiti.” T-shirts with the fundraiser name, Hawkeye logo, and Haitian national flag will be on sale with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Haiti. As a 2007 UI alumnus, he wanted to bring the benefit to Iowa City.

“I’m just excited to give back to the place where I went to school,” he said. “It’s a blessing to work with the school that gave me the resources and the knowledge to be where I’m at.”

While on campus, Mali worked at KRUI as a radio-show host. Enjoying the experience, he created the “Amaza Show” which he now hosts. The online show centers around his interviewing different celebrities, such as singer Aretha Franklin, and getting behind-the-scenes access to music events. He has high hopes for the “Amaza Show.”

“My hopes for the ‘Amaza Show’ are for it to be a company that will entertain people but also help with changing lives,” he said. “It could be inspiring somewhere. I just want the ‘Amaza Show’ to be known as the company that not only is known for entertainment but for giving back to those that are in need and underprivileged.”

Growing up in South Africa until 2000, Mali, 27, said he knows what it means to see the struggles of others. He said he was hurt when he could not do anything to help those in need.

“Here, I have the privilege of reaching out to powerful people who assist me in doing things like raising money and giving back,” he said.

Phi Beta Sigma is also sponsoring the upcoming J. Holiday show, and Mali said the fraternity has been supportive in helping with the event. Mali said Gibril Mansaray, a UI junior and business manager of the fraternity, was instrumental in aiding him.

Mansaray, who created the idea of “Hawks for Haiti,” said it was a good way for the UI to be involved in the relief effort.

“I look at it as a way to help unify the community,” he said. “We all have a mutual love for music. Whatever walk of life you come from, music is a way to unite the people.”

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