Nipsey wasn't the only one giving back to his community.
When Nipsey Hussle passed away on Sunday, fans and loved ones of the Grammy-nominated rapper mourned not only the loss of his art but of his philanthropic work for the city of Los Angeles.
"THE WORLD DIDN'T KNOW WHAT YOU HAD TILL YOU WAS GONE," fellow rapper YG wrote of his passing on Instagram. Mayor Eric Garcetti commented further, adding, "He was a tireless advocate for the young people of this city, and of this world." Nipsey's philanthropy was so impactful that it was announced on Thursday that his humanitarian efforts would be added to the congressional record. While Nipsey was a tireless advocate for social justice, many of today's premier hip-hop artists also contribute monumentally to the betterment of their community. In the wake of Nipsey's passing, check out a handful of other artists who are striving for social justice reform and social progress the way he was.
Nipsey Hussle Grammy Celebration Hollywood Reporter
As one of the most important living figures in music, Jay-Z is also one of the most philanthropic artists in the hip-hop community. Most recently, he hired one of the best lawyers in the country to defend his friend 21 Savage in his ongoing
immigration dispute. He also recently signed Lil Uzi Vert to Roc Nation after the rapper claimed he was being exploited by DJ Drama. Additionally, in 2016 the rapper penned an Op-Ed for The New York Times titled "The War On Drugs Is an Epic Fail," in which he detailed the deep-rooted racist agenda perpetuated by the US Justice System. The 49-year-old music mogul also recently produced a well-received docu-series surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin. Not to mention, since 2003, his Shawn Carter Foundation has donated over four million dollars to help at-risk-youth get scholarships and other aid for schooling. He's also hosted a multitude of benefit concerts over the years for different charities and been a passionate advocate for ending mass-incarceration in the US. "We have a responsibility to push the conversation forward until we're all equal," Jay-Z recently told the Times. Not to mention, he's married to Beyonce, another humanitarian icon in her own right.
2. Big Sean
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The "Bounce Back" rapper recently opened up the Sean Anderson Foundation, a not-for-profit that assists in the "education, health, safety and well-being of primary through college-aged youth in underserved communities across the country." Sean said of his vision that he "wants to be an inspiration to young people, by showing them that hard work and determination pay off, to be an example of what can happen when you follow your dreams." Last weekend, Sean also hosted
Moguls In The Making, a Shark Tank-style competition in his hometown of Detroit that featured ten teams having to come up with ways to tackle city-wide issues in education, unemployment, and real estate. The goal of the competition was to teach teens the importance of financial literacy. "Financial literacy isn't really taught so much in school as it should be," Sean explained. "That's something that I missed out on, and later on in life was one of the most important factors [in] handling my business."
3. Trae Tha Truth
Aside from the fact that he rescued stranded Texans in his boat during the 2017 Houston Hurricane, Trae Tha Truth is a humanitarian icon for the city of Houston. He opened a non-profit called "Angels By Nature," which recently opened a children's emergency shelter in the city. July 22nd is also "Trae Day" in the city of Houston, as the rapper holds an event every year at which at-risk teens can receive school supplies, immunization shots, and HIV tests for free. He was additionally the face of Habitat for Humanity in Houston.
4. Chance The Rapper
After going through the inner city school system himself, Chance has been at the forefront of education reform in his home city of Chicago. In 2017, Chance donated a million dollars to the Chicago Public School fund. He also created the "Warmest Winter" initiative and raised $100,000 for high-quality sleeping bags for the homeless. He also went before Chicago's city council in 2017 and spoke out against the mayor's proposed plan to build a
95 million dollar police academy. "They're just asking for $10 million today to purchase the land. But we don't have the rest of the money to do it, so why let them go ahead with this right now?" Chance told the council. "There's a lot of different services that need to be funded."
5. Rick Ross
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Raised in Florida, the "Rich Forever" magnate founded
A Big Way Charity, and in 2014 he bought a 109-room mansion in Georgia as a home for the at-risk youth of Miami, New Orleans, and Atlanta. In 2012, he donated Reeboks and iPads to his alma mater high school and hosted a blood drive to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
6. Meek Mill
Meek Mill fell into the role of prison reform advocate after being an inmate between 2017 and 2018, but since his release last April he's fully embraced the cause. He's since spoken out against mass incarceration, and just yesterday
proposed legislation for probation and parole reform alongside 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin and state Reps. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) and Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland). "I'm only here to use my platform and my voice to speak for the people who don't have a voice," Meek said in his proposition.
7. Queen Latifah
Last summer, the Queen received the prestigious Marian Anderson Award, which is an honor given to "critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way." Other recipients have included Oprah, Maya Angelou, Dionne Warwick, and Elizabeth Taylor. Latifah has also advocated for LGBTQ rights for years and is currently involved in 14 charities, ranging from feeding the homeless to HIV/AIDs awareness. She is also credited with helping to increase arts funding in public schools and awarding scholarships to low-income students through her mother's Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation. "Queen Latifah is an excellent role model and clearly a well-deserving recipient of this prestigious honor," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said of Latifah's award. She is also the youngest ever to receive the accolade.
Akon's loyalty to his African background and heritage was deeply present in his music, but he took it to the next level when he announced his Akon Lighting Africa project back in 2014. Since its debut, the project has brought electricity to over 600 million people in Africa across 15 countries.
9. Killer Mike
The Run The Jewels MC has always been an advocate for social justice. His compelling docuseries "Trigger Warning," which debuted in January, is a detailed exploration of the human condition and examines cultural taboos and societal issues and how to change them. Additionally, Killer Mike has been deeply outspoken on a plethora of issues from police brutality to social inequality and systemic racism. Mike also uses RTJ's music to push his activism further, and the duo's efforts eventually led them to be nominated for a Grammy.
10. Kendrick Lamar
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Ask many people in Compton, and Kendrick is a very present face around the city he grew up in. The G.O.A.T. has donated thousands to public after-school programs and has been a triumphant force in his community. His efforts in the city were so extraordinary that he was recently named the California State Senate's 35th Generational Icon. "If you visit Compton...Mr. Lamar is a familiar face in the neighborhood," State Senator Isadore Hall II said of the artist. "He has personally donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support sports programs, after-school programs, music programs in the Compton Unified School District to help keep Compton students off the streets and in the classroom."
Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area. Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.
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The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.
We're glad they're on our side.
The world is up against a seemingly insurmountable threat, but luckily, we've got a crack team of heroes on the case.
Sure, there's already the girl with super strength, the guy who can fly, and the anthropomorphic, trash-talking animal tailor-made for merchandise. But this is a threat of intergalactic proportions, and we're going to need all the help we can get if we want to survive.
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