The aftermath of Japan's 8.9 earthquake and following tsunami have prompted some musicians to postpone their tours to the country. But not R&B star Ne-Yo.
The singer-songwriter said some people expected him to delay his concert dates. "After we heard about what went down, a lot of people was like, 'I know you're not going out there now,'" Ne-Yo said this week during a MTV Skype interview from Japan. "Our response to that was, 'Of course we're still going. They need the shows more than ever now.'"
Ne-Yo didn't see much of the devastation up close. He performed in Nagoya, Kobe, and Yokohama. "The closest that we've come to the actual tragedy was Yokohama, which is about 20 miles outside of Tokyo, so there was the whole radiation scare," he said.
Ne-Yo has used his celebrity to raise money to benefit the victims. He has been selling wristbands, T-shirts, and posters with the message "Our Prayers Are With Japan." "We've raised somewhere close to $100,000," he said. "All the proceeds of this stuff goes straight to victims of the quake and tsunami, not to mention a percent of the proceeds of shows go to victims of the quake and tsunami. So we are definitely out here making a difference. It's definitely more than just singing and dancing."
Ne-Yo has been impressed by the resilience of the concertgoers. "As far as the crowds coming to the show, it's like unreal," he said. "If you didn't know that anything is wrong, you wouldn't know that anything is wrong. .. It kinda speaks to the spirit of Japanese people."
Ne-Yo's record "One In A Million" also appears on the recently released "Songs For Japan" album. The charity compilation costs $10 and includes 38 songs from the biggest pop stars, including the likes of Lady Gaga, U2, Justin Bieber, and Shakira.
Considering Chris Brown's album is slated to debut at No. 1 next week, let's hope that that won't prompt any further outrage. Our fingers are crossed. See you then.
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