First benefit concert for the Louis Farrakhan Prostate Cancer Foundation

CHICAGO (–The soulful sounds of Frankie Beverly & Maze rocked the Arie Crown Theater May 10, as the legendary group headlined a benefit concert for the launching of the Louis Farrakhan Prostate Cancer Foundation.

The crowd was literally on its feet from start to finish, swaying, crooning and dancing to the group’s music that sometimes reached spiritual highs as the audience sang in harmony for unity and peace–typical themes of many of the group’s hit songs.


Also on the bill were comedian Damon Williams, singer Tank, and a brief surprise appearance by rap legend Doug E. Fresh. Despite a threat of severe thunderstorms and hail, it was hard to find an empty seat in the venue.

Damon Williams had the audience in stitches as he told a string of jokes that he noted was somewhat of a departure from his normal routine because of the love and respect he has for Min. Farrakhan. He said he was honored to be a part of the historic affair.

Tank, the soulful crooner, also told the audience of his appreciation for Min. Farrakhan’s work as he belted a string of recent hits.

In a surprise appearance, Doug E. Fresh, a human beatbox, had the audience clapping to the beats that sounded like he had a corps of drummers and cymbals clashing behind him, though it was merely his display of the remarkable talent he has to make such sounds with only a mic and his vocal chords.

Doug E. said it was Min. Farrakhan who saved hip hop as he stepped in to quell the violence that had escalated during the Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls shootings through several hip hop summits. During those meetings–some of them closed door sessions–the Minister called for a change to occur in the lyrics and images of rap and some of the rappers who had differences at that time embraced.

At the close of his presentation, Doug E. rapped two poems specially written for Min. Farrakhan that drew thunderous applause from the audience.

“I know I’m not the only one who has been tremendously affected by the knowledge and wisdom that he has shared,” he said.

In a heartfelt expression toward the end of the concert, Frankie Beverly paused to express thanks for being invited and to note the seriousness of prostate cancer and encouraged men to be tested. “It’s a subject I remember having a hard time myself,” he told the audience.

He then addressed words to Min. Farrakhan. He said he first met the Minister a year ago because the Minister was a fan of his. “We hit it off immediately, he reminded me of my father,” he said.

“But I didn’t know (he was a violin player) and I was just blown away. I’m still blown away. I wrote him and told him he needs to (make it wider known) because the world needs to know that side of him.

“He’s a beautiful, wonderful, beautiful man, but he has to (bring) fire and brimstone to make you to move. But he’s a beautiful man (that) the world needs to see. So, I became a fan of his now,” Frankie Beverly said as the crowd cheered.

Frankie Beverly also told the audience they have performed together for more than 30 years because of the love they have for music and the people. They don’t get awards, he noted.

But in another surprise moment, Maria Farrakhan Muhammad, daughter of Min. Farrakhan and coordinator of the weekend’s events, walked on stage to present the group with an appreciation award.

“This award is presented to Frankie Beverly & Maze in recognition of the first annual concert to launch the Louis Farrakhan Prostate Cancer Foundation,” she told a surpised Frankie Beverly.