PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Shortly after the gates opened for Made In America 2017 in Philadelphia, so did the skies.
Rain soaked the Ben Franklin Parkway on Saturday with little stopping, turning the typically hot end of summer soiree into a poncho party. What dampened the clothes though didn’t touch the spirits of the young crowd, pressed in around the fountain for Migos, or taking cover under the trees as they rocked with Cardi B.
There’s always a focus on charity at the annual two-day concert, with United Way playing a big part and a row of causes and giveaways to encourage involvement. This year though, the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey loomed largest in the minds and on the stages.
“I have friends that have lost everything” said Lizzo from the stage. The Houston-raised singer paused her set of self-confidence and fun to address the week since Harvey hit. “Help out on the local level” she asked. “Corporations aren’t stuck out the rain” she told the crowd at the Budweiser branded event.
“There’s been a lot of things dividing the country right now. It’s cool to see people come together and have a national day of prayer and just people looking out for one another” explained DJ and producer Kaskade backstage. “There seems to be so many things that divide us. I actually feel like we’re much more like one another than what’s portrayed. I’ve traveled this country for twenty years and played shows all over the world – listen, we’re all a lot more like one another than we know.”
“That’s the one positive thing that’s coming out of this. People are coming together, they are helping one another.”
The infectious DJ outlasted the weather and closed down the Liberty stage before the rain rolled back in.
The Red Cross was very visible throughout, flashing ways to donate on the screens affixed to the sides of the stages. “Right now we’re sending thousands of people, volunteers from across the nation and here from Philadelphia as well” described Gregory Smith from the organization’s booth along the Parkway. “I too am just amazed, and touched as a matter of fact, humbled by the outpouring of good will for people that are miles and miles and miles away.”
While inspired by seeing everyone come together, rapper Vic Mensa explained to us that there’s more we should be discussing when it comes to Hurricane Harvey.
“We’re giving a pass to the people that allow this [****] to happen, that deny climate change and don’t build infrastructure to prevent these things from happening. Especially after Hurricane Katrina” the Chicago MC tells us backstage before his set.
“Yes I’m praying for those in Houston and I will support, and I’m happy to see people coming together but – let’s not forget the [****] are letting this [****] happen.”
After talking about the steps that Holland has taken to combat flooding, Mensa focuses sharply on America.
“America is so anti-regulations and they won’t demand that you hold your city’s flood potential to a certain probability rate, and they deny that climate change is happening, and they deny that these things are getting worse, and then people have to [****] die. I think it’s [****] disgusting.”
Mensa’s set later that afternoon was plagued by technical issues, but he overcame and still thrilled the wet crowd.
“We need everybody to come together right now” an emotional Kodie Shane told us earlier in the day. The Atlanta rapper and singer spoke of her family just outside of Texas and being thankful that everyone is officially out of harm’s way. “Everybody in Houston, everybody outside of Houston, that’s what we need to be focused on right now.”
Made In America continues on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on Sunday. For a full list of how you can help with Hurricane Harvey relief you can go here.