This weekend, Concert Pub North is hosting a day-long benefit for the family of recently slain local, John Hernandez. The 24-year-old husband and father died after a confrontation with Harris County Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry, at a Sheldon-area Denny’s. The couple was charged with homicide after Hernandez died a few days following the May 28 attack.
From noon until 9 p.m. this Sunday, the venue at 2470 Cypress Creek Parkway will welcome members of the Hernandez family, family supporters and a host of music acts that have volunteered to play the fundraiser. Event organizer Adam Rodriguez said so many bands asked to perform on behalf of the family that he had to reluctantly turn some away.
“I reached out to some bands and a lot of bands reached out to me. There were some bands that I really couldn’t accommodate because of the time frame,” said Rodriguez, who has staged numerous benefits before as event promoter and venue owner. “I would love for everyone to feel involved, especially everyone who’s offering to help out and participate, but that could have kept the event going until the next day. There’s a lot of bands that wanted to be on the show.”
One band that is on the bill is event headliner, Ganesha. The Houston Press Music Award-winning outfit issued a statement concerning its involvement in the event.
“Ganesha is more than honored to be a part of this benefit for a man who would still be here with us had it not been for the cowardice of a lesser man,” the band’s statement reads. “It is important that we are coming together for this cause because if they can attempt to sweep this man’s death under the rug, who’s to say they won’t try the same on any one of us? We have to let our voices be heard and let the ones in uniform know we got the numbers.”
The band’s statement alludes to police involvement in the death of yet another unarmed American. Ganesha isn’t the first Houston music act to speak out on the matter, either. A few weekends ago at Saint Arnold’s Anniversary Party, Bun B used part of his headlining set to implore Houstonians to be diligent in demanding justice for Hernandez.
Rodriguez said he reached out to the family after the tragedy. He said he figured Hernandez was the breadwinner of his young family and felt they probably needed emotional and financial support.
“I felt like it was my duty to reach out and I reached out to Susanna, (Hernandez’s) cousin, she’s bilingual and she has been communicating for the family,” he said. “I met his dad as well.
“He was really, really touched. He probably hugged me about four or five times and each time he did, he came to tears,” Rodriguez continued. “I just felt like it’s something I wanted to do for the little girl, considering her father’s not going to be around.”
Hernandez’s daughter became a focus for some of the acts on Sunday’s bill, Rodriguez said. Members of Motion Hotel and The Nelsons have daughters, he noted, and felt compelled to loan their talents to benefit her and the cause. The full bill includes Ese, Ashley Franklin, Be Someone, Kornika Musica and Gadget White. Deejays Miko and Mark O.G. will be spinning music and poet Blanca Rodriguez Alanis will perform a set. Other acts include Haydee, a belly dancer, and comic Jerry Carillo, acting as event host.
“I thought it was really important that we kept the lineup diverse to show unity. There are some people that the family’s mentioned, they’re trying to turn it into a race war. When they went to the court hearing, when they were outside when the sheriff and her husband walked in, they said there were people out there trying to turn it into a race war, and they didn’t like that. They thought it was a really good idea that I had a very diverse lineup, with different cultures,” Rodriguez shared.
A clue about how the Houston music community is responding to this event could come from an unexpected donation Rodriguez received for the day’s proceedings. House of Blues Houston donated 200 tickets to approaching events for this Sunday’s fundraiser.
“For them to participate and donate, considering it’s a Live Nation owned-venue, and Live Nation is so corporate that if it’s not a Live Nation venue, they don’t support it. So, the fact that they donated 200 tickets, that shows how big this is. They’re contributing to an event that’s not even at a Live Nation venue. That was really cool of them.”
Concert Pub owner Jay Dee also distributes fidget spinners, which are all the rage these days. In addition to the space he’s affording the event, he’ll be donating some of the toys to the event. Rodriguez said the venue is a family-friendly establishment, so he wants everyone to know this is a family-friendly event.
Members of the Hernandez family will be on hand, too, he said. They’ll get to meet people who have supported them from afar on Sunday afternoon. They’ve found that support critical and a little surprising, Rodriguez mentioned.
“The family is going to be at the door the day of, greeting people and collecting funds. They’re going to rotate so as soon as (visitors) walk in they’re going to be greeted by someone from the Hernandez family,” he said.
“They actually told me they didn’t think a lot of people cared. And then they told me, at first, they thought the cops were against them and they just said they didn’t think people would have cared about John Hernandez. They’re actually touched by how many people are supporting them.”
Concert Pub North hosts the Justice for John Hernandez Benefit Show, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 25 at 2470 Cypress Creek Parkway. $10.