These Rappers Keep It Real By Giving Back
Many famous rappers like to talk about how rich they are, but are they willing to put their money where their mouth is? These particular hip-hop artists had no problem doing so. They’ve donated chunks of their bank accounts to worthy causes, such as providing scholarships for kids going to college and helping to feed the hungry. For some, it was a one-time donation; for others, it is an ongoing charitable effort. Many rappers have even started their own charities in order to help make a difference. But when you are a chart-topping rapper, money just ain’t a thing.
Drake’s Double Donation
When Drake filmed the video for his single “God’s Plan” at Miami Senior High School in Florida, he allowed many of the students to appear in the video as extras. But then he really shocked the students when he donated $25,000 to the school. He then committed to providing all of the students with uniforms designed by his clothing line OVO. The rapper didn’t stop there; he then headed over to the University of Miami to surprise one lucky student with a $50,000 scholarship. The student was Destiny James, a first-generation college student who was raised in a single-parent home from a low-income family.
Fighting For Disadvantaged Youth
Last June marked the second consecutive year that Big Sean made a significant contribution to the youth in Michigan, his home state. In 2016, through his own Sean Anderson Foundation, he donated $25,000 to Wayne State University’s HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) program, which supplies “short-term support” to students who struggle to meet basic needs, such as food, shelter, and childcare. Then last year he donated an additional $15,000 to the program.
He established his foundation in 2013 “to assist in the education, health, safety and well-being of Detroit area school aged youth as well as disadvantaged youth in other areas across the nation.”
In 2016, Jay Z hosted a star-studded benefit concert at Barclays Center, featuring Beyonce, Nikki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Usher, Damien Marley and Jay himself. The concert was not only celebrating one million subscribers to Jay and Beyonce’s streaming service Tidal, but it also raised money for a variety of national and international social organizations in line with the Black Lives Matter movement and related social justice issues: $1.5 million to be exact. That wasn’t the first time Jay has made charitable contributions. His organization, The Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund, has awarded over $1 million to college students who want to study abroad.
The Next Generation of Moguls
In an effort to promote the next up and coming generation of entrepreneurs, P. Diddy donated $250,000 to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NTFE), an organization that “activates the entrepreneurial mindset and builds startup skills in youth from under-resourced communities to ensure their success and to create a more vibrant society.” He even also offered private coaching sessions with the top four finalists in the organization’s NFTE Challenge in New York City. “I believe all young people should be given the opportunity to be successful and to pursue their passions,” said Diddy. “And NFTE gives all kids the tools they need to be the CEOs of their future.”
A New Academic Program
Dr. Dre teamed up with his Beats Electronics partner, Jimmy Iovine, who’s also the chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records, to donate a total of $7 million to the University of Southern California for the creation of an undergraduate program called USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. The program “focuses on nurturing and developing original thought, leading to breakthrough products, systems, technologies and more.” According to USC President C. L. Max Nikias, “The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young [Dr. Dre] will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media.”
In His Mother’s Honor
Dr. Donda West may be the late mother of megastar Kanye West, but she was an icon in her own right. After passing away in 2007, Donda’s House, a nonprofit dedicated to premium arts instruction for children in impoverished communities of Chicago, was opened in her honor. West himself donated $133,000 to help get it off its feet. The program accepts about 30 students per semester and has already helped almost 100 students. Then in 2014, West teamed up with fellow rapper Common and The Chicago Urban League, creating more than 22,000 jobs for Chi Town’s youth.
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Lil Wayne donated $200,000 to help rebuild a park that was damaged in his hometown. He used to play at that park when he was growing up, and he had hoped that it would inspire other musicians and artists to also donate to help rebuild the city after the disaster.
Weezy also helps out his hometown by teaming up with Cash Money Records to hand out an estimated 1,000 turkeys to families from their city. Additionally, he built a skate park in the city’s Lower 9th Ward Village, another area that was hit hard by Katrina.
After learning about an unemployed Washington D.C. widower with eight children who lost his home in a fire, Nas launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the man and his family. Nas connected to the man’s story, being a single father himself, and immediately donated $5,000 of his own money. “…I believe and hope that we should all, as a community, come together to help our fellow American men and women when they need us in desperate situations like this,” said Nas. The campaign ended up exceeding the intended $50,000 goal, and Nas then added an additional $5,000. He, along with 2,219 other contributors, raised over $63,000.
Helping the Poor
The Game created “The Robin Hood Project” solely for giving back and “helping people in need, people that are struggling, people that come into hardships in their life.” He launched the project after meeting a man who lived with 20 of his family members and was struggling to make ends meet. The Game gave the guy his last $20 and decided to figure out how to do more for society.
Soon after the organization was formed, he heard another story about a young girl who was shot outside her family’s home, and her last words were her asking if her father was alright. The Game contributed $10,000 to the funeral’s costs.
Mentoring Through Education and Creativity
Common loves his hometown of Chicago and has dedicated himself to helping the youth of his South Side community. That is why he created the Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is “to empower high school students from under-served communities to become future leaders.” The program’s intention is to expose underserved inner-city youth to new opportunities through the creative arts. The organization provides a team of dedicated coaches and mentors that work with students in an individual and group setting, as well as providing community service projects and cultural field trips.
After getting into a bit of legal trouble and being ordered to cease touring for a month, North Philly’s Meek Mills decided to do something positive. He teamed up with Reebok and donated $10,000 worth of sneakers and gear, including duffles, t-shirts, socks, shorts, and snapbacks to his old stomping grounds, Strawberry Mansion High School. He made the generous donation after learning that the school’s sports programs were suffering a great deal due to major budget cuts. He also held a charity event for the school in their gymnasium to help raise additional money.
B.o.B. decided to celebrate his birthday one year by donating $10,000 to Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, an Atlanta-based organization that works to assist homeless individuals and families so that they can get back on their feet and become self-sufficient. He stated that he felt as if he received so much support from his community, and wanted to give them something back in return. He also challenged other rappers, live on air on Atlanta station V103, to step up and donate to a good cause, stating, “The next artist to offer up 10 stacks, I’ll put up another 10 stacks for the same foundation.”
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Grammy-winning singer/rapper/producer Pharrell Williams teamed up with creative supplies and stationery company Yoobi for a back-to-school supplies collection. For every item that was purchased from the limited-edition collection, a product was donated to a classroom in need. “Children essentially are our future, so we want to have a hand in influencing kids in a positive way,” said Williams. He also established his own charity, From One Hand To AnOTHER (FOHTA), which built a $35 million after-school center in his hometown of Virginia Beach. It also hosts six-week summer camps in 20 locations in five states, providing kids educational S.T.E.A.M.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Motivation).
Donating Time As Well
In order to raise money for Habitat For Humanity’s Operation Home Delivery Fund, Snoop Dogg auctioned off “An Hour with Snoop” which allowed someone to hang for an hour with him in the studio. He helped out his former high school by hosting a charity basketball game there, and proceeds were shared with the Save a Life-Foundation. Basketball is clearly a passion for Snoop, and he also coaches the Snoop Youth Football League. He also worked together with the mayor of Inglewood, California, helping deliver 1,500 turkeys to families in need for the holidays.
Giving Back To HIs Roots
The son of two Senegalese natives, Akon spent his early childhood in Senegal, West Africa before moving to the U.S. He wanted to give back to community he came from, which is why he founded the Konfidence Foundation, an organization “dedicated to increasing public awareness of the conditions in Africa and providing underprivileged African youth with access to learning and recreational environments equipped with modern technology, educational materials, recreational resources, and health and wellness services.” In 2008 the foundation also helped out impoverished families in the U.S. during the holiday season by providing them with holiday meals and toys for the kids.
Nelly has an extensive list of charity work. The father of four created a non-profit foundation called 4Sho4Kids, which helps children born addicted to drugs and children with developmental disabilities. After his sister was diagnosed with Leukemia, he funded a campaign called “Jes Us 4 Jackie,” that spreads awareness of the importance of bone marrow transplants and why it’s important for more African-Americans to register as donors. He’s thrown a yearly event called the “White and Black Ball,” which raises funds for scholarships. He also launched the Extreme Institute By Nelly program, designed to help students get business, entertainment and beat making educations.
Eminem was the secret donor of almost $200,000 to a charity called Wolverine Human Services that helps at-risk youth from ages 12 to 18. The truth of his generosity was not uncovered until two years later. His contribution helped 1,200 Michigan children in need during the holiday season. He also pledged to match any contribution of $100,000 and up. In addition to that, through his Marshall Mathers Foundation, Em has spent around $200,000 in two years to buy presents for the children. His foundation also donated $100,000 to the family of a six-year-old boy who needed to have a kidney transplant.
Keeping Youth On Track
In 2013, J. Cole visited the town he grew up in, Fayetteville, North Carolina and donated school supplies to five schools, including his old high school. He also returned the following year to host the Third Annual Dreamville weekend, an event with the purpose of bringing the community together to grow as a whole. The organization itself is a youth-based initiative whose “mission is to reveal to youth their limitless potential through life-altering experiences.” Cole has stated, “We are happy that we’ve been able to put together these events that will hopefully encourage our youth to stay on a positive path through our schools and community organizations.”
Feeding The Hungry
In 2011, 50 Cent committed to feeding one billion Africans by supplying a meal and clean drinking water for every purchase someone makes of his SK Energy Shot drink. The following year he worked together with the U.N. Food Program and traveled to Somalia and Kenya to raise awareness for the cause. He built off this effort years later after working with Feeding America to feed children who were suffering from hunger in the United States. He donated 250 meals for every one set of headphones that was sold from his SMS Audio company.
Label Fighting For The Homeless
Los Angeles-based independent hip-hop label Top Dawg Entertainment has been making a continuous effort to help the homeless and those in need. The label, founded by Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith and including such artists as Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, and Jay Rock, started the “Each One, Teach One” initiative. The group gives back to the community through charitable efforts. Much of the donations go to helping the homeless of L.A.’s Skid Row, a neighborhood that hosts one of the largest homeless populations in the United States. One December they donated gifts, free meals, and performed a free concert for residents of the Nickerson Garden Projects in Watts, California.