Rapper and mogul 50 Cent may have built his brand by carefully honing a tough guy image, but his recent actions demonstrate a complexity in his character, which is as charitable as he is creative.
“People always try and paint negative images about me[.] I’m the most genuine down to earth person and I didn’t forget where I came from,” the superstar performer and businessman recently wrote on his Facebook page.
50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson in Queens, NY, used the social media outlet to discuss his contribution to the funeral of D’aja Robinson, a fellow Queens native who was killed by a stray bullet on a city bus. He posted images of her funeral, held on Friday, on his Facebook page, and confirmed that he paid for the horse and carriage that carried the casket of slain 14-year-old.
“She was pretty, innocent and [didn't] deserve to die like that,” 50 Cent wrote, according to New York’s Daily News. “R.I.P D’Asia Robinson.”
The softer side of 50 Cent
This softer side of 50 Cent might seem surprising, but it is an evolution that has been brewing for years. While the rapper has built a fortune through graphic songs, he has used a portion of his riches to fund important causes.
Jackson’s G-Unity foundation has been active for much of his career through giving grants to combat social issues. Most recently, when launching his Street King energy drink in 2011 (which has been rebranded as SK Energy), Jackson pledged to feed one billion people through a partnership to fight hunger with the United Nations.
The day before Robinson’s funeral, 50 Cent spent some time promoting SK Energy, and commented on the importance of giving within the context of business ventures.
Promoting conscious capitalism
“I’m doing it across all my companies, Street King [and] SMS Audio,” 50 Cent told theGrio from the Hudson Terrace in New York City last Thursday. Even in the midst of co-hosting a festive affair featuring DJ Pauly D, who was also promoting his new product, Remix Cocktails, Jackson was mindful of his message of promoting social entrepreneurship.
“I just want to promote conscious capitalism,” he said, stressing that large corporations should “accept a partner” when it comes to giving. “I made one of my partners an invisible partner, and it’s hunger,” 50 Cent continued.
Jackson also had the stats to support his assertions. “According to the World Bank, ten percent of business [revenues] would alleviate all extreme poverty,” he said.
Working to alleviate poverty and hunger
50 Cent also explained that of “the major companies that are extremely profitable,” sharing a small percentage of monies earned, “would mean nothing to major share holders,” meaning it would be easy for companies to part with these amounts for the greater good.
“But we are just not conditioned to give away things that we work for,” Jackson concluded about barriers to corporations becoming more active in systematic giving.
That does not stop this Forbes hip-hop cash king from sharing his earnings. The SK Energy web site states that millions of meals have been donated through sales of the energy shot. In fact, for every shot of SK Energy sold, a meal will be donated to a hungry child through the United Nations World Food Programme.
A philanthropist remains true to his roots
50 Cent’s social awareness may not be apparent in the grittiness of some of his lyrics.
The seminal sounds that launched 50 Cent’s career from his first studio album, Get Rich or Die Trying, are a reflection of the troubled circumstances that likely caused the death of D’aja Robinson.
But, unlike the Curtis Jackson of old, now we know that beneath the leather-clad torso of his entertainer’s persona lies the heart of a philanthropist.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.