8 Black Celebs Who Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is When It Comes To Giving Back
Philanthropy and giving back are important parts of achieving success. Remaining charitable while being at the top of your game shows which public figures are worthy of our praise.
While most celebrities typically do their part to give back in some way or another, there are certain famous faces who break the mold when it comes to their philanthropy. Here are 8 Black celebrities who take pride in giving back to communities and causes around the world.
As the son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, who run the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, it was only natural for philanthropy to rub off on Jaden. On his 21st birthday in July 2019, Jaden opened the I Love You restaurant in the downtown area of Los Angeles’ infamous Skid Row region, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The vegan food truck company provides healthy free meals to the thousands of homeless in Skid Row.
The restaurant serves as a “movement that is all about giving people what they deserve, healthy, vegan food for free,” the rapper wrote on Instagram at the time. In December 2022, Jaden announced that the charitable food truck was back.
Megan Thee Stallion
The Houston Hot Girl is more than just a pretty face and Billboard chart-topper. The Grammy award-winning rapper is a proud college grad, who obtained her degree while rising to the top of the hip-hop game, and creator of the Pete & Thomas Foundation.
Created in honor of her late father and mother, Joseph Pete Jr. and Holly Thomas, Megan modeled her non-profit organization around the values her parents instilled in her; the importance of family, education, and community. Launched on her 27th birthday in February 2022, the “Savage” rapper’s foundation gives back in a number of special ways, People reports.
Through Meg’s non-profit, she helps to provide scholarships, school supplies, and resources to support students from high-need communities, aids in addressing housing issues for seniors, single mothers, and families impacted by financial emergencies and natural disasters and supports cancer treatment, mental health, and food insecurity.
“My family raised me to help others and give back, so I’m incredibly proud to be in a position to accomplish that goal,” Megan said.
“I have a responsibility to use my platform to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those who may not have access to resources and support services.”
Rihanna’s annual Diamond Ball is more than just a night of fashion and glam. The annual star-studded event raises funds for Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports and funds education and emergency response programs around the world through education initiatives, scholarships, health care, grants, and other projects. Named after the billionaire singer and beauty mogul’s grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, the organization has funded over 45 projects and raised more than $7 million in grants since its 2012 inception.
Travis Scott is so big in music, it’s often overlooked how passionate he is about giving back to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Through his Cactus Jack Foundation, the “Goosebumps” rapper, real name Jacques Bermon Webster II, helps to raise money to provide educational opportunities and scholarships for the youth. The foundation launched the Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund, named after his grandfather, who served as a dean at the HBCU Prarie View A&M University, according to USA Today. The scholarship provides financial support to HBCU seniors who are facing financial challenges to ensure they can graduate on schedule.
“My grandfather wanted me to take it all the way through college,” Scott said.
“I feel there is a power in education so to be able to give someone the opportunity to fulfill that dream as my papa thought for me is amazing.”
The scholarship serves as an initiative through the foundation’s Project HEAL. The purpose of the project is to solve challenges and overcome issues impacting the youth community through initiatives that include academic scholarships, free mental health resources, a creative design center, and a first-ever, tech-driven solution for event safety.
21 Savage might make a lot of violent references in his music, but the Atlanta native is a passionate philanthropist who gives back to his hometown in big ways. In December 2022, 21, real name Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was honored with his own day in the state of Georgia thanks to his work through his Leading By Example Foundation. Launched in 2017, the foundation provides financial literacy education to underserved youth, scholarships, access to bank accounts, and job placement for teens and students alike.
“I’ve been an advocate for financial literacy because I believe it can help free youth to focus on the more important things in life,” 21 Savage said when launching the initiative.
When he was honored with his own day, 21 Savage was hosting his 4th annual Holiday Grant-A-Wish Event that gave away gifts and wireless tablets to 100 Atlanta parents and their children.
The decorated EGOT recipient lends his talent far beyond music. A true philanthropist in every way, John Legend has placed charity at the forefront of his initiatives outside of his music. In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign aimed at providing children with access to quality education and combatting systemic issues in our criminal justice system that disproportionately impact the poor, minorities, and disadvantaged.
In 2014, Legend expanded his philanthropy efforts with LRNG Innovators, which helps empower teachers to redesign learning in ways that ensure students are better equipped to succeed. Most recently, Legend started FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture change campaign focused on ending mass incarceration.
Known for being a mega-producer and fashion connoisseur, Pharrell is also a respected philanthropist who created From One Hand To AnOTHER in 2008 to ensure every child success by providing them with the right tools. In 2022, Pharrell unveiled the non-profit YELLOW to encourage curiosity and inspire wonder through science and nature for the next generation.
“Being a creator isn’t just about entertaining, but also about being a voice for the communities that are often underserved,” Pharrell said, according to Look to the Stars.
The organization donated $1 million to its first micro-school, YELLOWHAB which makes science and nature education fun and accessible for kids. Additionally, YELLOW plans to use the funding to build a green roof immersive learning experience and a garden where students can learn about vegetation to support biodiversity and a circular food system for the local area. It also hosts family and community workshops and aims to strengthen classroom programming.
Probably one of the most prominent celebrity philanthropists, Oprah Winfrey has dedicated her career to global charity initiatives. The billionaire media mogul has donated millions of dollars to a wide variety of charities and organizations including her Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation.
Through The Angel Network, Winfrey opened The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast. After dominating the talk show space for over 30 years, starting a magazine, book club, and her OWN network, Winfrey is acclaimed for her power and influence around the world because of her philanthropy.
“To move forward you have to give back,” Winfrey once said.