With the holidays upon us, a host of A-list artists are taking time out from their busy schedules to give back to those who are less fortunate.
Newly minted Def Jam President/CEO Jay-Z will spend Christmas morning giving back to and getting in touch with his roots by returning to Brooklyn, New York’s Marcy Projects for his annual Marcy Projects Toy Drive. Held at the Marcy Projects Recreation Center, Jay will donate more than $10,000 worth of toys and host a Christmas dinner for residents of the neighborhood he was raised in.
Ludacris is also putting smiles on kids’ faces this Christmas. He and the Ludacris Foundation have delivered more than 1,000 toys to hospitals and community centers in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta.
“It’s all about helping kids help themselves,” Ludacris said of his foundation. “We’ve donated money to different charities that help kids help themselves, but it’s most importantly about me lending my celebrity and me being there personally — whether it’s hospitals, doing turkey drives every year, helping out housing developments all across the United States and in South Africa. We’ve been everywhere — Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Miami. We’ve fed the homeless. We’ve gone to Boys & Girls Clubs sponsoring uniforms and trophies. There’s no limitation. We don’t just do one thing.”
Nelly and producer Jermaine Dupri were also in the giving mood as they gave away toys to underprivileged children at Atlanta’s Dunbar Recreation Center recently. Nelly and Dupri collectively purchased around $10,000 worth of toys to donate. Other sponsors donated additional toys and pizza for more than 1,200 needy children.
“I love Atlanta and I’ve always tried to do the best when it comes to supporting the Atlanta community at large,” Dupri said via a statement. “I also know what it’s like to be left out at Christmas, so now I’m at a place where I can try and make the holidays a little brighter for kids that do not have a lot and probably expect nothing.”
Also showing love for his hometown is 50 Cent. 50 and the G-Unit have teamed with New York Jets defensive tackle Josh Evans and the Book Bank Foundation for the second annual Josh Evans Christmas Clothing Drive. The event, to be held Thursday at New York’s Bowery Mission, will be a “superstore” where more than 300 homeless women, men and families will “shop” at no cost from a huge selection of new clothing, toys and over-the-counter medicine. In addition, recipients have the option to receive free on-site chiropractic services as well as partake in a holiday feast.
Chingy and his Chingy for Change Foundation will also be doing a toy drive for poor families in St. Louis, while Ja Rule’s LIFE Camp foundation is holding a toy drive at York College Theater in Queens.
Hip-hoppers aren’t the only ones feeling charitable this season. Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland and fiance Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys have been working with the Salvation Army, visiting their youth centers in Texas throughout December.
On the pop front, Aaron Carter has been heavily involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as the Dream Maker Foundation this season. With the help of TV talk-show host Dr. Phil, Carter also sent out CDs with his version of “Run Run Rudolph” and a holiday message to kids whose parents are stationed in Iraq.