*NOTE: I wanted to post this interview to give an example of the opposite side of the spectrum. You may have seen my post yesterday in regards to the so-called “charity” started by Kanye West. There’s also a mention of Jay-Z and his philanthropic efforts (or lack there of). I just want the world to know that there are entertainers out there who DO care...
In a recent interview with American rap icon Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, we discussed his evolving philanthropic efforts, bridging business with social responsibility, and what’s next on his radar.
Rahim Kanani: What was the moment upon which you decided to become active in the philanthropic space?
50 Cent: Once I achieved success in 2003 with my first album, Get Rich or Die Trying, I quickly realized how I could use my success to make a difference. Shortly after, I launched the G Unity Foundation. And since its launch, we have given out numerous college grants, created a community garden with Bette Midler’s New York restoration project, and done many community events.
Rahim Kanani: How did the partnership with your Street King energy drink and the United Nations World Food Programme come about, and what kind of success have you had thus far?
50 Cent: While touring in Africa, I was shown places where the poverty level was more extreme than I had ever seen or known existed. I knew I wanted to do something. I was introduced to Chris Clarke of Pure Growth Partners and together we founded Street King. We were looking for a charitable partner and the UN World Food Programme was a perfect fit. They have been a great partner and we recently traveled together to Kenya and Somalia and saw firsthand the devastating famine there.
For every Street King energy-shot sold we give one meal to a hungry child. We have provided 3.5 million meals since September 2011, but we have a long way to go to reach our goal of 1 billion, and I hope fans will continue to join me in the quest to put an end to the suffering in Africa and around the world.
Rahim Kanani: Building on this work, you recently launched a partnership between SMS Audio and Feeding America to make an impact here at home. Was this a natural progression of your efforts?
50 Cent: It was clearly the next step. While the starvation is so severe in Africa, you can’t ignore the fact that so many children in the United States are going to bed hungry. So with my audio company, SMS Audio, for every pair of headphones sold in the United States, 250 meals will be provided thru Feeding America.
Rahim Kanani: If you were speaking to your fellow artists in the world of hip hop and beyond about why philanthropy should be an important part of their careers, what would you say?
50 Cent: According to World Bank numbers, contributing 1% of business to charitable organizations could alleviate extreme poverty around the world. So with conscious capitalism, I hope to influence my peers and other entrepreneurs to create a new standard of making change.
Rahim Kanani: With respect to “all-things” 50, what’s next on the horizon?
50 Cent: Speaking of all things, my film “All Things Fall Apart” was just released on DVD on February 14th. I’m also busy working on new products for both SMS Audio and Street King. In addition, I am completing my next album, working on a fitness book, and developing several new films as well as a TV series. There are many other things in the works that I’m sure you will hear about soon.