RegalMag.com publisher Todd A. Smith (right) poses with rapper T.I. (Photo Credit: Regal Media Group, LLC).
T.I., Killer Mike Donate 500 Meals to Families in Need
To whom much is given, much is required.
And as much as celebrities are criticized for being out of touch with the plight of the common man, many like Atlanta rappers T.I. and Killer Mike have seldom failed to lend their mouths or their money to those less fortunate and/or without a major platform to speak out on social injustices.
On May 6, Killer Mike and T.I. gathered at their restaurant, Atlanta’s Bankhead Seafood Market, to distribute 500 meals to residents of “The ATL.”
T.I., born Clifford “Tip” Harris, and Killer Mike, born Michael Render, have owned Bankhead Seafood Market jointly since 2018.
Killer Mike, who grew up on the west side of Atlanta, remembers eating at the establishment as a child and has fond memories of his times at Bankhead Seafood Market.
“Mike and I are natives of the community, and this is our establishment,” said T.I. “We’ve always had genuine and sincere passions to fill the gap, and this is just one of the many ways to do so.”
The two legendary emcees did adhere to social distancing rules, while wearing masks and gloves.
The meals came already packaged in brown paper bags as well.
But the two rappers, who consistently voice the concerns of the voiceless, wanted to bridge the gap for people struggling to pay rent, mortgages, utilities while also trying to put food on the table.
Killer Mike added, “T.I. and I went in and bought a business and wanted to keep it going. And in the middle of that, a pandemic happened. So, whether money is being made the priority is human beings and people. People need to eat…Giving back is not something you do just in times of pandemic…if we all do a little bit, no one has to do a lot.”
Despite already feeding 500 people during this coronavirus pandemic, T.I. and Killer Mike still want to do more.
The two want to feed another 1,000 people.
To accomplish their mission, T.I. and Killer Mike have teamed up with the Atlanta-based non-profit organization, PAWKids, which is a community support group.
The family enrichment center PAWKids serves the Grove Park community in Atlanta.
Latonya Johnston, the founder of the organization PAWKids, also attended the meal giveaway at Bankhead Seafood Market on Wednesday.
At the giveaway, Johnston stated that they have already given out 86,000 pounds of food during the coronavirus pandemic, with no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Additionally, T.I. and Killer Mike also offered to give $500 in cash per household to several local area families.
Johnston said, “There is so much love here and we’re in this together. It’s time to get out, get busy and take care of your people.”
The rappers even went to the homes of several residents to deliver food and hygiene products.
Johnston said that T.I. and Killer Mike’s efforts mean so much because the area is a “food desert.”
After the neighborhood’s Food Giant grocery store shut down four years ago, residents have had difficulty grocery and pharmacy shopping because many do not have nearby access to a grocery store or pharmacy.
The coronavirus pandemic only made matters worse for people in the community.
“We realized we had to step in and do something or things weren’t going to be good,” Johnston said.
Killer Mike credits his upbringing in the Grove Park neighborhood on Atlanta’s west side for his philanthropy and activism.
“Giving back is not something you do just in times of pandemic,” Killer Mike said. “It is an essential part of the human existence that comes from living on the west side.”
Never the one to shy away from social issues, T.I. along with many other rappers like Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J have also spoken out about the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed African-American man, chased and killed by a White father and his son in Brunswick, Ga.
The father worked in law enforcement before retiring from that line of work.
Even basketball legend LeBron James spoke out for Arbery.
On Instagram, James said, “We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me….No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!!”
Because of the public outcry from celebrities to the common man via marches and social media, the killers of Arbery now face aggravated assault and felony murder charges for his death.
For decades, many veterans of the Civil Rights Movement era criticized the younger generation for not speaking up enough against injustices and focusing more on material wealth.
Nowadays, celebrities in the African-American community often take the lead in seeking social justice for their peers.
Killer Mike and T.I. are not the only Atlanta rap legends giving back to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 Chainz fed the homeless community last week instead of reopening his Atlanta restaurants.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp infamously reopened the Georgia economy despite criticism from President Donald Trump, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and many business owners in the African-American like rapper Killer Mike.
The rapper decided not to reopen his chain of barbershops because he said that the novel coronavirus has disproportionately affected the African-American community.
Killer Mike did not want to expose his clients and employees to the coronavirus.