Gloria Gaynor.

Music legend Gloria Gaynor and a host of “friends for Haiti,” will join Brooklyn-based nonprofit Community2Community (C2C) for the “Hope and A Future” benefit concert for Haiti at the Apollo Theater, Jan. 12, 2011 – the anniversary of the tragic earthquake that claimed more than 300,000 lives.

Sponsored by the Consulat Général de la République D’Haïti à New York (Office of the Haitian Consul General – New York), Christian Cultural Center and Determined To Educate, in partnership with The New York Daily News, The Amsterdam News and Positive Community Magazine, the event will feature an eclectic mix of inspirational, jazz, R&B, Hip-hop, Haitian music, spoken word and dance along with special vignettes spotlighting Haitian culture and history.

WLIB/WBLS radio personality Liz Black will host the concert featuring performances by Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence Dance Company; Haitian DJ Hard Hittin’ Harry and The Earthman Experience; jazz artists Barbara King; Haitian Rapper/Poet Mecca; trumpeter Curtis Haywood; gospel group C3YC; Boots step team, vocal stylist Thurston Daniel, Yaz Band, Wisdom, Wanda Nash and more.

Gloria Gaynor was not in the U.S. at the time of the earthquake in Haiti. When she returned one week later, she wanted to help. She offered the gift of music and her celebrity to various organizations and benefit concerts, but the outpouring of support among the entertainment community was so great, and so quickly mobilized, there was nothing she could do. So she took it upon herself to secure donations for the Red Cross and Unicef through Facebook and YouTube.

This live performance for C2C dedicated to the survivors in Haiti is something she’s been looking to do for a long time.

How does a song about unrequited love translate to survivors of a deadly natural disaster? According to Ms. Gaynor, “To survive means to fight. It means you have the power to overcome whatever life throws at you. I believe in the words ‘love your fellow man.’ I believe that love is benefiting others at the expense of self, so that’s what I’m there to do – benefit the people of Haiti, helping my neighbor, loving my neighbor, at the expense of myself. With our help, the people of Haiti – they will survive.” Ms. Gaynor’s honorarium for the performance will be donated to the C2C-Haiti Restoration and Transformation Project in Petit- Goáve, Haiti.

Gaynor herself is a survivor. “Everybody has things in their life that they feel are insurmountable and that they hope they’ll survive,” she says. “I’m a fighter in that way. I try not to let things get me down and fight my way through it, pray, and then get up off my knees and go do something.”

She recorded “I Will Survive” while in a back brace after falling while onstage at the Beacon Theater in N.Y. She was injured to the point of temporary paralysis requiring surgery. A four-month rehabilitation period in the hospital led her to search for meaning. And she found it through Christ.

“I had come to a point in my life where I felt I had every “thing” that anyone would call success. And yet I was unfulfilled. And I began a quest to find out what it is that makes a person feel fulfilled when they feel they already have everything.” She found this fulfillment through a personal relationship with Christ and re-recorded “I Will Survive” to let people know that.

“The music industry declared the ‘Queen is dead;’ they didn’t expect me to come back, but I believed from the start that it was a timeless lyric that everyone would be able to relate to – that it would give encouragement, support and empowerment to people. That’s why I wanted to record it.”

True to her beliefs, Ms. Gaynor plans to open a center of help and healing for teen parents. Living Waters Teen Center, in her hometown of Newark, N.J., will offer hope to the children here at home, as the singing of “I Will Survive” on Jan. 12 at the Apollo will offer hope and healing to the children of Haiti.

Keith L.Forest

Urban ID

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