MORE THAN 50 CENTS

Rap artist, businessman and sometimes actor Curtis James Jackson III better known as 50 cent has a mission: to feed 1 billion children in Africa by the end of 2016.

50 cent was born to a 15 year old mother who passed away when he was 8 years old. Thereafter he lived with his grandparents and experienced a harsh life, getting involved in everything from dealing drugs to boxing. His breakthrough into the rapping industry came when he was discovered by Jam Master Jay of Run-D.M.C. and the rest, as they say, is history. He climbed his way to the top and now sits on his throne alongside all time legends like Jay-Z and Dr. Dre.

Now the famous rapper has decided to turn his focus to something very unexpected: philanthropy. According to the World Food Programme, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. In this region, one person in four is hungry. These facts are staggering and 50 Cent must have felt the same when he declared, back in 2011 to feed one billion people in Africa between 2011 and 2016.

But there have been dozens of other African American celebrities who have dipped their hands into the philanthropic pool in Africa including Alicia Keys, Oprah Winfrey, John Legend and Akon. Many have done it in hopes of being reconnected with their unknown pasts, some like Isaiah Washington even being able to acquire dual citizenships in their ancestors African countries. So what about 50 Cent’s efforts stand out from the crowd?

SK EnergyFor one, his noble efforts have been combined with his business acumen. The rapper, along with the founder and CEO of Pure Growth Partners (which is focused on inventing, investing in and advising businesses that change the status quo), Chris Clark created a flavoured energy drink called Street King (later rebranded to SK Energy). The drink is sold in 74-mililitre shots. For each shot purchased, a 10 cent donation is made to the World Food Programee which then determines the areas in which the money will be used to feed the hungry.

Some of the musician’s critics have lashed back saying that his humanitarian efforts are all a sham and he only went ahead with the project as another one of his business strategies. However,  the 39-year old rapper has gained lots of support and endorsements from other celebrities such as the late Joan Rivers, Pauly D, Wes Welker and J.R. Smith.

Though for th efirst two years the company did not have much profits, SK Energy was ranked the #1 energy drink by Product of the Year in both 2013 and 2014 and has an annual revenue of between 300-500 million US dollars. The company is, by all accounts, a success, and has reportedly provided millions of meals to needy children at this point. If 50 Cent achieves his goal, he would become the 20th largest donor to the UN WFP.

 

Photo credits: www.celebritynetworth.com and Wikipedia

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