Almost every rapper has made the point of lacing hot beast with lyrics of how much power and money they have and the trinkets and cars they have amassed in with their vast fortunes. The truth is, many rappers have made less than a 1/4 of what they say they have made financially, and for those who have actually made racks and racks from their talent, often spend it on depreciating and gaudy, overpriced items.
Rapper/businessman/label CEO/and entrepreneur and all around living legend Jay Z, is one of the few musical artist, let alone rapper, who has graduated from the need to over consume and reinvest a great deal of his earnings, in the his fans and a number of charities. This may be a surprise for many, but like many philanthropist, Jay Z does not require recognition and praise for his contributions. To get an idea of what I am talking about, take a look at just a few of the charities Jay Z has invested in or been a part of:
April 1999 – Jay-Z donated his proceeds from the Denver stop of the Hard Knock Life Tour to help the families of the victims of the Columbine tragedy.
August 2000 – Hosted, commentated, and made a donation at a charity basketball game that benefited the Boys Harbor summer camp and T.H.A.N.K.U. (The Hillcrest Avenue Neighborhood Kids Union).
2001 – Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records formed Team Roc, a charity organization affiliated with the New York Mission Society that created basketball leagues for at-risk youth.
September 2001 – Jay-Z donated $50,000 to the World Trade Center relief effort. On The Blueprint album tour he donated proceeds from every ticket sold to the relief effort.
October 2001 – Performed at ‘The Concert for New York City,’ a benefit concert for victims of the 9/11 tragedy. Hov also donated unique memorabilia that was later auctioned off to support the Robin Hood Foundation.
November 2001 –Hosted and performed at the ‘Jay-Z’s Thanksgiving Give Back Concerts’ in New York. Proceeds went to the Team Roc organization.
March 2002 – Headlined and donated to the Urban Aid 2 benefit concert in support of Russell Simmons’ charity that raises funds awareness for HIV prevention initiatives.
December 2002 – Jay-Z surprised a group of youth who were a part of the New York Knicks reading program for inner-city kids. He joined them in class for the day and read to them.
2003 – Formed the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation with his mother Gloria Carter. They founded the charity on the belief that any motivated individual in need should have the opportunity to further his or her education. Since its formation the Foundation has donated over $1.5 million to more than 750 students who would have otherwise not been able to afford a college education.
2003 – Since the first branch opened in 2003, each 40/40 Club has ensured that a percentage of profits is given to music and sport charities in deprived communities. The Club also gives first option on jobs to unemployed young people.
November 2003 – All proceeds from his legendary ‘Fade to Black’ concert went to various charities. During the show he donated $25,000 to each mother of Biggie and Tupac to be used for their charitable efforts.
May 2004 – Jay-Z hosted a charity luncheon for the Golden Gloves Foundation, and along with Team Roc he formed a scholarship program for underprivileged youth who have boxing potential.
July 2004 – Enlisted Beyonce, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Kanye West, and more to design a pair of Reebok S. Carter shoes to be auctioned off. All proceeds went to the Shawn Carter Foundation and Jay matched the donations.
September 2005 – He donated $1 million to the American Red Cross’ relief effort after the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Hov also put in personal calls to his famous friends to encourage them to donate, and appeared on the BET telethon for Hurricane Katrina to appeal to the general public.
2006 – Sent more than $2,500 worth of designer street wear to the Campaign for Adolescent and University Student Empowerment, a foundation that supports the low-income area of Spring Hill in DeLand, Orlando.
2006 – Funded and co-produced the documentary film Black Sorority Project: The Exodus. The film told the story of 22 female students at Howard University who defied barriers of race and gender to join the women’s suffrage movement and form a new sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, which is still known as one of the nation’s most formidable women’s organizations.
August 2006 – Met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the organization’s headquarters in New York. He joined forces with the United Nations and together they planned to help fight the global water crisis. He set out on his Water for Life world tour, traveling all over the world filming the documentary ‘Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life’. He installed pumps and water sewage solutions in impoverished villages all over Africa.
August 2006 – Jay-Z personally-pledged $400,000 to PlayPump International for the installation of water pumps in malnourished villages in Africa.
November 2006 – Performed a concert in New York city for his Water for Life program with the UN. The concert raised almost $300,000 for PlayPump International
November 2006 – Hosted and played in a charity poker game. $403,862 in proceeds went to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and AROD Family Foundation.
May 2008 – Established an educational trust for the two children of Sean Bell, the unarmed man shot and killed by the police in November 2006 on the day he was to be married. Jay-Z also made sure Bell’s fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell, was taken care of and hired her to appear in Rocawear’s ‘I Will Not Lose’ advertising campaign.
Jay Z is an example of what the rap game can be about and sets the bar high for all artist and professional of screen, music, and sport. To view the full list, please click here.
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