Hip Hop doing its bit to give back to the community

There is no doubt that the Hip Hop culture is one of the most influential global marvels, but unfortunately its popularity comes with a burden of bad connotation that seems to overshadow the positive contribution that it has on society.Hip Hop is a multi-billion dollar industry that has produced more self-made entrepreneurs from disadvantageous communities than any other industry in the United States of America. The general public look at the rich Hip Hop artists and see extra-ordinary figures that live the “American dream”.

Whenever there are discussions about these rap-moguls, as they are affectionately known, and how they spend their money, all sorts of misconceptions come into the fold. The spotlight is often put on the profligate life-style they portray in their music and less is said about their devoutness to give back to their respective societies. Yet some of these artists are dedicated souls who do not only use their status, but also their earnings to bring about change to the needy.

For example, Russell Simmons, who is mostly known as the co- founder of DefJam Recordings, supports 22 charity organisations, 22 courses and is the co-founder of Rush Philanthropic Arts foundation with his brothers, Danny and Joseph Simmons. This foundation gives direct funding to non-profit organisations that provide arts and education programming to New York City youth.

In October 2011, Simmons was honoured at a glitzy gala event in New York for his work with the anti-slavery foundation, “Somaly Mam”. It is charity that aims to help women who have been previously forced into sex slavery.

There is a host of other rap superstars who are following in Simmon’s footsteps. In fact, the top five richest rappers in the game are deeply involved with charity work.

In 2003, it was reported that  Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs who is a founder of Bad Boy Records, raised more than $2 million in the New York Marathon for Children suffering from HIV and AIDS in that City. Combs is also on the board of directors for Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, an initiative aimed at yoking the cultural relevance of Hip-Hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns vital to the empowerment of youth.

In February 2012, Curtis ‘50cent’ Jackson showed he had an unselfish hand when he became the largest donor to the United Nations’ World food Program. According to media reports, Jackson even went on a trip to Somalia with U.N. officials to participate in the program.  The rapper from Queens also has a foundation of his own, called G-Unit foundation. It provides grants to non-profit organisations that help improve the quality of life for underprivileged and underserved communities.

Hip Hop is a movement that has birthed a lot of relentless givers. The artists act as servants who continuously contribute to the well-being all of their respective societies, whether through their craft or the charity work that they do. Even though these artists are often portrayed negatively in the lime light, there is no doubt that the majority of them responds positively to the call of social responsibility.

Sinethemba Gqoloma


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