Grammy award-winning Rapper Nelly visited one of Iraq’s most unstable areas this week, the autonomous Kurdistan region, to raise money for victims of ISIS.
The “Hot in Herre” rapper performed some of his biggest hits at a charity concert in Erbil, of the Arbil Province, becoming the first American to do so in the volatile region, according to the Rwanga Foundation, which organized the event.
“I’m honored that this country has basically paid attention to Nelly,” the now 40-year-old said.
“Everybody has been so gracious and the hospitality has been first class. How could you not want to come back to a place where everyone shows so much gratitude and they’re happy to have you?” he told Britain’s Sky News.
Last summer, westerners were advised to leave the city, as Islamic State militants advanced.
Taban Shoresh, the charity’s PR & Media Director, said of the festival:
We are delighted and proud that the city of Erbil hosted this landmark charity concert and would like to thank Nelly for his involvement. The event was here to celebrate the people of this city, promote peace, and a chance to raise money for the millions of people who have been affected by the ongoing conflict.
The Rwanga Foundation event also included a soccer tournament, a Motocross show from international star André Villa, and a performance from Arab Idol’s Ammar Koofy.
In all, the festivities attracted an estimated crowd of 15,000 locals.
Proceeds from ticket sales will to go to those impacted during the humanitarian crisis, according to the foundation.