Rap star returns home to his roots – QNS.com

Rap star returns home to his roots

There’s no feeling like returning to your old neighborhood, having made it big — except, of course, if you are able to give something back.
That’s exactly what rap star 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson) did on Monday, November 3 when he and actress/singer Bette Midler cut the ribbon on The Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden at 117-19 165th Street in Jamaica.
The New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and revitalizing parks, community gardens and public space in New York City, commissioned acclaimed landscape architect and designer, Walter Hood to redesign the NYRP community garden, which was underwritten by 50 Cent’s G-Unity Foundation.
A native of Jamaica, 50 Cent and his G-Unity Foundation joined forces with NYRP to bring Walter Hood’s designs to life in his old neighborhood as part of his personal mission to give back to the community that has supported him over the years.
“I am thrilled that 50 Cent and the G-Unity Foundation have become such a vital part of the NYRP family,” said Midler. “We are a perfect match! They are dedicated to helping underserved communities just as we are, and there is nothing more important to me than providing open green spaces for families to use for gardening, education, relaxing, and having fun. I salute 50 Cent for using his celebrity to bring a healthier lifestyle to his childhood community, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.”
Midler and 50 Cent were joined by New York City Council Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie who provided NYRP with an $80,000 grant toward garden programming and infrastructure. New York State Assemblywoman Vivian Cook and representatives from the offices of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and New York State Senator Shirley Huntley also attended the garden opening.
“I want to applaud New York Restoration Project for its exemplary efforts in re-imaging the Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson Community Garden,” said Comrie. “It is this collaboration of public and private dollars, that has time and time again, proven to be a successful roadmap to revitalizing urban communities. I am delighted to have played a small role in this endeavor by leveraging public dollars toward this worthy project that will benefit the constituents of my community.”
The newly renovated garden will give members of the community access to much needed green space. According to Queens Community Board 12, the area currently has only 5 percent of the recommended amount of outdoor/open space to serve the neighborhood’s 52,000 children.
Community garden members will be able to host numerous activities in the space with the help of NYRP’s garden coordinator, including movie nights, garden workshops, family days and more.
“It is an honor and a privilege for me to partner with Bette Midler and New York Restoration Project to bring this garden to Jamaica, Queens, my childhood neighborhood,” said 50 Cent. “Every child should have access to open, green space where they can learn, play and be active in their community.”
Incorporating a children’s learning garden, community vegetable plots, a patio area and sustainable technology for maintaining the space into the landscape, the space includes a rainwater harvesting system with six 10-foot-tall funnels to collect and store rainwater offers regular irrigation to the garden and will also double as the patio providing a shaded section for rest and relaxation.
The G-Unity Foundation is well known in the community for creating the G-Unity Scholarship Fund at Queensborough Community College and issuing thousands of dollars in grant money to various non-profit organizations. Originally founded to support the academic enrichment of students in low-income or underserved communities, 50 Cent continues to expand the G-Unity Foundation’s reach with partnerships like this one with Midler’s NYRP.

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