WATTS (CBSLA) — Some of the music industry’s hottest performers put on a free show Wednesday in Watts as part of the annual Top Dawg Entertainment Holiday Concert and Toy Giveaway.
Before the concert started, fans came in one-by-one dropping toys in a collection bin in lieu of buying tickets.
“This is the closest thing we’ll ever get to a free concert, I guess,” one fan said. “And I would rather give my toys to people and kids that need them.”
All of the donated toys will be given to children growing up in Nickerson Gardens, including 11-year-old Evan Williams.
“I’m happy to receive some stuff,” he said.
Growing up in the housing project, Evan said he’s been around gangs, shootings and murders, but Wednesday’s event was not about that.
“I’m really happy, because people are accepting to come to Watts, because people feel like this is a bad area,” Evan said.
Right in the middle of Nickerson Gardens, some of hip-hop’s hottest artists took the stage — including Tyga, Kendrick Lamar and Chris Brown.
And some of the artists performing had more in common with Evan than he knew.
“Two year’s ago, I was here in the crowd,” rapper Reason said.
Another performer, Jay Rock, grew up in Nickerson Gardens as well.
“I didn’t have a lot of clothes, or a lot of toys,” he said. “I never really had Christmas trees or nothing like that. Just to see them kids happy like that, it’s wonderful.”
And for Evan, Wednesday’s event was about more than a toy drive and concert — it’s inspiration to know that his future is not determined by where he grew up.
“It’s going to be a challenge for me to be something, but I’m gonna try,” he said.