While many Americans will be warming up their remaining Thanksgiving leftovers, some of Minnesota’s finest will be coming together to support the less fortunate with the 3rd Annual Cold Flows For Warm Clothes Benefit Concert on Sunday, November 30th in the Cedar Cultural Center.
Along with a reputation of providing one of the year’s best line-ups, Cold Flows for Warm Clothes is a volunteer based concert meant to help impoverished and homeless community members receive a coat to help get through the infamous winters that plague the state. This year’s bill continues to live up to the hype as the show will be hosted by Abstract Pack’s Glo Pesci and Slipmats’ DJ Nimo the Hooligan on the 1s and 2s with performances from the legendary Guardians of Balance, Unknown Prophets, Mac Irv, The Lioness, Mental Madness Wreckords, Manny Phesto, Baby Shel, and Finding Reason. With all of the live music, the show will also feature famed author/poet/actor/activist John Trudell, who has served as the spokesman for the United Indians of All Tribes’ takeover of Alcatraz Prison in 1969 and has released many acclaimed works of poetry and music. While all of this is happening, the night will include live painting and raffle/auction which includes autographed photos from Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Minnesota Twins legend Tony Oliva.
With ticket prices at $10 in advance and $15 at the door, Cold Flows for Warm Clothes volunteers are allowing free admission for anyone with the donation of a new or gently used winter coat as both net proceeds of the show and coats will be donated to the Division of Indian Work’s Horizons Unlimited Food and Clothing Shelf located in South Minneapolis.
As it moves into its third year, Mental Madness Wreckord’s MC and Cold Flows for Warm Clothes founder, Tall Paul describes the event’s origins through a “desire to be able to use (his) craft to benefit others beyond a musical inspiration.”
“A few years back,” said Tall Paul, “I thought about doing a benefit show and I came up with the concept and name of Cold Flows for Warm Clothes. It just so happened that a year or so later, I met up with some friends and organizers and we decided to start up this event.”
As the idea flourished, the inaugural show carried forth a new sense of purpose within the Minnesota Hip Hop community and inspiring many MCs from all parts of the state to take part in the show. Among the show’s long list of talent, Rez Rap and 100 Souls own Baby Shel is returning to take part in his third appearance on Cold Flows for Warm Clothes stage and his first “soulo” set.
“I’m proud to be a part of something so caring, thoughtful and giving to the community,” said Baby Shel. “So a 4 to 5 hour drive (depending on road conditions) to the cities really isn’t nothing for me… When it gets to the winter season around Minnesota, the weather gets life threatening cold. It’s good to know we’ll be helping the people who have to go through those types of situations this winter a little bit. Even if I wasn’t a part of this event, I would try to give some sort of donation to the benefit. I couldn’t imagine the hardships homeless people have to go through. I know what it’s like to be down on your luck, it’s always good to get some sort of help.”
While the nobility on their side, the harsh realities of homelessness sweeps through like a gust of winter wind. According to Wilder Foundation’s 2012 Research, there were over 10,000 homeless citizens in Minnesota alone, continuing on an upward trend at the time of the survey. With the largest numbers being centralized within the metro area, the show gains a certain reflection on the community that the show takes place. For Tall Paul these societal problems go beyond numbers and statistics.
“Going based solely off of experience and sight,” said Tall Paul, “the factors I know of that contribute to the problem are family related, work related, drug and alcohol related, as well as housing related, obviously. People with the lack of familial support systems, people with drug and alcohol addictions, these people are more at risk for emotional and mental instability and they’re less likely to get jobs to be able to keep a roof over their heads. I myself went through a short period of time where I was couch hopping, sleeping on the porch of a house a family member had just moved out of, sleeping in the backseat of a friend’s car. I was in a depressed state of mind, I was drinking and smoking, had been in a negative relationship, didn’t have a job and I didn’t want to ask anyone for a place to sleep due to my pride. The people I would’ve been willing to ask lived a ways away. There were certain family members who I already knew would reject me and there were also the ones who had complained in the past about me depending on them for a place to stay.”
As seen by stoplights throughout the state, the issue of homelessness cannot be ignored. While the threat of winter continues be a factor, there are many agencies within the Twin Cities that are willing to help.
“I know there are various shelters around the metro area such as Mary’s Place,” said Tall Paul, “a lot of which give priority to women and children though. There’s an organization called Anishinabe Wakiagun off of Franklin & Bloomington Avenue right next to the American Indian Center in South Minneapolis that also provides housing for people who are homeless.”
As a proud voice for the Native communities, Tall Paul also cites that the number of homelessness in Minnesota disproportionately affects Native American youth. Backed by the Wilder foundation, they found that 12% of the Minnesota homeless population was of people of Native American descent and only 2% of all of Minnesotan youth alone.
“I think as communities we need to be inclusive and welcoming of all cultures, skin colors and backgrounds. I’ve always viewed this event as an opportunity to invite people from outside of the native community, into the native community, to help the native community. I think when we are willing to help people who aren’t a part of our respective communities, that’s when we really have a ‘community,’ because otherwise it’s like we’re self- segregating from one another by only being down for our own. Although this event mainly benefits those in the native community, it’s not strictly limited to that because all are welcome to go to the DIW food and clothing shelf to get food and clothing for themselves and their loved ones regardless of ethnicity. Also, it’s completely understandable that home is where the heart is at and that people want to prioritize helping their own, but if given the opportunity, I’d definitely be down to help others regardless of their race etc.”
The 3rd Annual Cold Flows for Warm Clothes will be on Sunday, November 30th at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Doors are at 5:30pm and show starting at 6pm with free admission for anyone who donates a new or gently used coat. And stay up to date with Tall Paul on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud as well as Baby Shel on Facebook, Twitter, and Bandcamp.