Dayton, Ohio — Thousands turned out to a benefit hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle that honored victims of the mass shooting here. The star-studded “Gem City Shine” took place Sunday in Dayton’s Oregon District, the historic neighborhood that was marred by a 32-second rampage that killed nine people and left dozens injured Aug. 4.
CBS Dayton affiliate WHIO-TV estimated that 20,000 people showed up.
Stevie Wonder headlined the event, which also featured Chance the Rapper, Teyana Taylor and Talib Kweli, among other musicians.
The event was designed to raise both spirits and money for the victims and survivors of the shooting.
“Don’t forget what this place is about! Mankind learned how to fly in this city,” Chappelle told the crowd. “Don’t forget what this place is about. When the rest of the country was all slavery, everybody was free in Ohio.”
Chappelle, who lives in nearby Yellow Springs, was treated to a rendition of “Happy Birthday” by attendees, instigated by comedian Jon Stewart.
Earlier Sunday, Kanye West hosted a Sunday Service in a Dayton park. The service for victims featured choir singers and was also attended by Chappelle.
Sunday evening’s benefit contributed to helping the community heal, business owners said.
“It’s reclaiming Dayton. We don’t want anybody to be scared,” Abby Beach told the Dayton Daily News. “We want everyone to know it’s an exciting and fun-loving community.”
Mayor Nan Whaley says no taxpayer money was used for the benefit. The mayor and the chamber of commerce raised funds for security and Chappelle donated the stage and secured talent, she said.
“And the least we can do, Dave, is we have declared it Dave Chappelle day in Dayton, Ohio,” Whaley said on stage Sunday night.