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KEM hopes his homeless benefits won't be needed in the future

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

When Detroit R&B singer KEM held his first “KEM Live @ Mack & Third” event in 2009 to benefit organizations that help the city’s homeless, he didn’t quite know how it would pan out.

And he wound up being pleasantly surprised at its success.

“It turned out to be a mini-festival,” recalls KEM (ne Kem Owens), 34, who was himself homeless during his late teens. “We got vendors setting up booths, all these different things going on. I was really surprised it was embraced as much as it was and so many people came out for it.

“It was really a testament to the people of Detroit and their surrounding community and their love for the work I do. I don’t take that for granted.”

KEM’s second “Live @ Mack & Third” takes place on Sunday, and it’s set up to be bigger and better — and, he hopes, even more successful than its predecessor. Morris Day & the Time will also perform at the free concert and food drive, and KEM will host “A Message & A Meal” for homeless attendees. The event will also include vendors and free health screenings, and proceeds will go to 10 designated nonprofits.

A third “Live @ Mack & Third” is also on KEM’s mind, although he would not necessarily mind if future events rendered it unnecessary.

“Y’know, foundations and fundraisers are the only types of business you don’t want to grow,” says KEM, who’s started work on his fourth album. “But as long as there is a need, I hope I’ll be able to do things in order to help meet those needs and contribute in this way.”

KEM Live @ Mack & Third takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, at Cass Park, Second Street and Temple Avenue, Detroit. Admission is free. Donations of cash, personal hygiene products and new underclothing items will be collected and distributed to the homeless. Visit www.mackandthird.org or more details.

Web Site: www.mackandthird.org

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