Rapper Lil Wayne is commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a music festival in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Wayne’s festival will benefit the victims of the hurricane who are still struggling to recover from the devastation. The tragedy that was Katrina is still felt among the people who were most affected by the storm.
The first ever, and much-anticipated, Lil Weezyana Fest took place today in New Orleans at Bold Sphere Music at Champion Square. The music festival is headlined by Wayne himself, but a few surprise guests are expected.
Wayne sat down with ESPN’s Michael Smith for an interview about how he felt the city’s progress was coming along since the storm ravaged the city. According to Wayne, he feels there has been “no change.”
“I’m sorry to say, it’s no change, it’s just what they — and when I say ‘they’ that’s a quote, unquote. Meaning I don’t know who ‘they ‘ are — but, it’s what they wanted. That’s what I see. ‘Move who we don’t want out, and bring what we want in.'”
Wayne discussed an interview that he had gave earlier where the interviewer asked about Wayne’s thoughts on the recovery of New Orleans. Wayne spoke of gentrification in the city.
“The [interviewer] was like ‘who did they want in?’ I said, ‘Oh no, it wasn’t a who, it’s what they want in — money.’ And we — as in quote, unquote ‘me and my people’ — we scare that money away, that’s what they figure. ‘So wash them out.'”
The Huffington Post reports that Lil Wayne told Smith he was working in Houston when the hurricane hit but he was directly affected by the storm. Those affected by Katrina all lost something to the storm, be it personal possessions or family. Wayne lost a cousin during the natural disaster, according to BET.
“Anything else I lost, it don’t even matter.”
In the wake of the hurricane, Lil Wayne said he’d been affected ever since as the main provider for his family.
“Obviously I’ve been gone. I’ve been living in Miami. I’ve been out of New Orleans. But with that said, for the way it touched me is to thank God that I am the bread winner of my family. That’s when you start seeing how you have to provide, and how much you have to provide, and who you have to provide for. Like, ‘wow, they lost stuff too?’ And that’s when you start realizing, wait everybody lost something.”
Wayne means to help his hometown with his music festival. He says his influence for Lil Weezyana came in the form of Drake’s OVO Fest. Wayne will be giving portions of the profits to Tha Carter Fund which is a “philanthropic initiative established by Lil Wayne to strengthen charities that endeavor to improve the quality of life for people in under resourced communities.”
Lil Wayne’s devotion to his hometown is a stirring reminder that the victims of Katrina are still suffering 10-years later.
[Photo Courtesy of Theo Wargo/Getty Images]