Dave Chappelle, Stevie Wonder, Chance the Rapper, Jon Stewart and Kanye West joined the 20,000 people who gathered in Dayton, Ohio’s Oregon District on Sunday to honor the victims of the deadly shooting less than a month ago.
The star-studded Gem City Shine event was hosted by comedian Chappelle, who lives just outside the city whose name became synonymous with American gun violence following the August 4 massacre when Connor Betts opened fire outside Ned Peppers Bar, killing nine and wounding 17 others before he was shot dead by police.
‘Don’t forget what this place is about,’ Chappelle told the crowd.
‘Mankind learned how to fly in this city. Nothing can break our spirit. You’re my friends and neighbors, and you give me strength.
‘The best way we can honor our fallen is by getting up better than we were before. We won’t let those people die in vain.’
The event raised money for survivors of the massacre and its victims: Monica Brickhouse, 39; Nicholas Cumer, 25; Derrick Fudge, 57; Thomas McNichols, 25; Lois Oglesby, 27; Saheed Saleh, 38; Logan Turner, 30; Megan Betts, 22; and Beatrice Warren Curtis, 36.
An estimated 20,000 people gathered in Dayton, Ohio’s Oregon District on Sunday for Gem City Shine, a benefit concert honoring victims of the city’s deadly shooting on August 4
The star-studded Gem City Shine event was hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle, who lives just outside Dayton in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Chappelle is seen addressing the crowd
Legendary artist Stevie Wonder headlined the concert, playing several of his greatest hits
Grammy-winning artist Chance the Rapper (center) also performed at Gem City Shine
The event raised money for survivors of the massacre and its victims: (top left to right) Lois L. Oglesby, 27, Thomas J. McNichols Sr., 25, Monica E. Brickhouse, 39, Logan M. Turner, 30, (bottom left to right) Megan Betts, 22, Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, 36, Nicholas P. Cumer, 25, Derrick R. Fudge, 57. Not pictured is the ninth victim, 38-year-old Saheed Saleh
Chappelle, who grew up near Dayton in Yellow Springs, welcomed his friends who had flown in from across the country to ‘tell this city that they love you’, according to the Dayton Daily News.
‘We’re not just doing this for our city, we’re doing this for every victim of every mass shooting in our country,’ Chappelle said.
Fellow comedian and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart also took the stage, telling the crowd: ‘Dayton, Ohio, you have reclaimed this area.’
The event’s headlining act was Stevie Wonder, who performed his hits I Wish, Sir Duke and Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
Wonder was preceded by artists Chance the Rapper, Talib Kweli, Teyana Taylor and Thundercat.
Other celebrities in attendance included comedians Chris Rock, Saturday Night Live host Michael Che and rapper Kanye West, who hosted a Sunday Service in the morning.
‘Don’t forget what this place is about,’ Chappelle told the crowd. ‘Nothing can break our spirit. You’re my friends and neighbors, and you give me strength’
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (left) got on stage after Chappelle to address her constituents and thank the comedian for helping fund the impressive event
Chance the Rapper is seen on stage at Sunday’s star-studded event in Dayton’s Oregon District
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley got on stage after Chappelle to address her constituents.
‘This past summer has challenged us to our core, and we rise. These past three weeks I have seen this community come together to grieve, to love and to demand action,’ Whaley said.
‘Dayton, the world is watching and they heard your call to do something. We must do something to end gun violence. Dayton, we changed the world once, we can change the world again.’
Whaley also wished Chappelle a happy 46th birthday and lead the crowd in song. She declared August 25 ‘Dave Chappelle Day’.
The comedian responded by saying: ‘This is one of the best days of my life. And I’m so happy I get to spend it with all of you.’
Strict security was put in place ahead of the event, where concertgoers waited in long queues to go through metal detectors at the entrance.
Dayton Police Major Wendy Stiver said there wasn’t much time to prepare for such a large crowd.
‘We’re doing the best with what we can and making it safe. We just hope people understand we are putting their safety first,’ Stiver said.
Whaley insisted that no taxpayer money was spent on the security presence.
‘The chamber of commerce and I raised the dollars for the security for here so it’s not a burden on the city at all,’ she told the DDN.
‘We’re just super grateful how generous Dave Chappelle has been on donating the stage, bringing the talent in, this is a tremendous gift to the community that he’s given.’
Gina Sandova, a volunteer working at the donation tent, said people have been generous about giving money to the tragedy fund.
Business owners in the Oregon District also expressed gratitude for the event, saying it was essential for rebuilding after the shooting.
‘It’s reclaiming Dayton. We don’t want anybody to be scared,’ Abby Beach, whose family runs the Trolley Stop, told the DDN.
‘We want everyone to know it’s an exciting and fun-loving community.’
Amanda Hensler said her store, Heart Mercantile, was busy throughout the weekend.
‘It’s a great community, let’s keep it that way,’ Hensler said.
Kanye West held his weekly Sunday Service in Dayton, Ohio, in honor of the nine people killed and 27 injured August 4
Kanye sang his hit Jesus Walks and Ultralight Beam backed by a gospel choirs as the excited crowd sang along
Earlier on Sunday, Chappelle joined West for his Sunday Service at the RiverScape MetroPark. The West family, including Kim Kardashian and daughter North and son Saint, showed up wearing all white.
Kim tweeted ahead of the event: ‘In support of the victims and survivors of the Dayton mass shooting,’ with a link to the Sunday Service website where viewers could stream the service live.
Kanye sang his hit Jesus Walks and Ultralight Beam backed by a gospel choirs as the excited crowd sang along.
The rapper took to the stage and said: ‘We’ve come to love you and we’ve come to share the love of Jesus Christ with you all today.’
Chappelle told the Sunday Service crowd: ‘Listen, we’ve been through a tough time. There have been tornadoes, there’s been Klan rallies, there’s been shooting – but we’re still here, we’re still strong.
‘The best way that we can honor our fallen is by getting up better than we were before.’
Che, Rock and musician Fonzworth Bentley were seen at the service.
West has been hosting his weekly gospel and worship Sunday Service series since early January 2019 at various locations across the country.
Kim Kardashian tweeted ahead of the 90 minute service a link to the website where viewers could stream the event
The rapper showed up with wife Kim Kardashian West, daughter North and son Saint, who all wore white
The Kardashain West family showed up at RiverScape MetroPark where an excited crowd gathered
Gem City Shine was held on the four-week anniversary of the shooting. Nearly a month later, authorities have yet to determine the motive behind Betts’ horrific actions.
The 24-year-old was armed with an AR-15 rifle and 250 rounds of ammunition and was wearing body armor and a mask when he opened fire on Dayton’s Oregon District just after midnight on Sunday August 4.
He was taken down by cops about 30 seconds after he opened fire. Two of his first victims were his 22-year-old sister Megan and friend Charles ‘Chace’ Beard, 24. It remains unclear whether he shot the pair, who drove to the area with him, on purpose.
Investigators have said the immediate motivation behind the shooting, its timing and the location chosen may never be known.
However, they learned he had an obsession with violence and a particular fascination with mass shootings – even previously expressing his desire to carry out one of his own.
A coroner determined that he had cocaine, Xanax and alcohol at the time of the shooting.
It’s been nearly a month since 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire on Dayton’s Oregon District, killing nine and wounding 17 others. Authorities have yet to determine Betts’ motive
The shooter’s 22-year-old sister Megan (left) was among the first killed in the massacre
Betts was shot dead by police about 30 seconds after he first opened fire with an AR-15 rifle. Surveillance video shows him entering Ned Peppers Bar wearing body armor and a mask