Today is the fifth anniversary of the passing of Detroit hip-hop legend DeShaun "Proof" Holton. As many local music fans painfully remember, the veteran emcee was shot and killed in the early hours of April 11, 2006 during an argument at the C.C.C. nightclub on the city's East Side. While the details of that night were grim, with police believing that Proof took someone else's life just before he was killed himself, many who knew Proof personally would rather remember the way that he lived instead of focusing on how he died.
That's exactly the reason that Proof's mother established the Proof Foundation in July of 2007. The rapper was known by millions of people around the world as a key figure in local group D12 and Eminem's best friend, but far fewer individuals remember Proof for things he did that were of greater importance. Among smaller circles, he always be remembered for the way he mentored upcoming artists around Detroit and even spoke at local schools encouraging youth to continue their educations.
So today, two events will happen to help honor Proof's memory and carry his legacy forward of impacting young people in a positive way. From 4-6 pm today at the Rosa Parks Freedom Chapel (inside of the Woodlawn Cemetary), a candlelight vigil will take place in his honor. Friends and family will gather and remember the Proof that they knew best through stories and poems. Then later this evening, a tribute show is taking place at The Shelter (431 E. Congress) this evening starting at 9pm with a number of key hip-hop acts that Proof influenced performing on stage. Miz Korona, Moe Dirdee, Melanie Rutherford, Supa MC, Rio Data, Seven the General, and 5Ela will all perform as will DJ Jewels and DJ Sin. Admission is based on a $10 donation.
Eryka Cheatham, who is doing public relations for the Proof Foundation, says the $10 goes toward a scholarship that they'll be awarding to one graduating Detroit high school senior this year. As Cheatham said in a phone conversation earlier today, "the scholarship is for Detroit high school seniors and the deadline to apply is May 30th. We're asking them to apply online and the question they have to write about is, what would they do to try and stop the senseless acts of violence in the city if they were Mayor of Detroit or chief of police."
The winner of the scholarship will receive $1,000 to go toward their upcoming college year. According to Cheatham, the scholarship winner will be announced in August. In addition to performances tonight at the Shelter, the Proof Foundation would love it if people could bring old photos or show flyers for the purpose of building a collage.
"We're encouraging people that have old photos or flyers from Proof shows to bring them, and we'd love it if you could donate them as we're trying to create an archive," Cheatham says. "If you only have one copy of a personal Proof photo, there will be a scanner on hand. After talking with Pepper (Proof's mother) there are so many times where people are always bringing photos of her son that she's never seen before. This way, we can start to keep a proper archive."
Cheatham says there will also be t-shirts for sale tonight with the unveiling of the official Proof Foundation logo. Doors open at 9pm at the Shelter and the event is 21 and up.
Also check out these written memories of Proof from Detroit emcees Invincible, Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, DJ House Shoes and Black Milk compiled by the good folks over at EgoTrip.