Eminem, Big Sean, Rihanna help raise millions in COVID-19 relief funds

Stars contribute big money to coronavirus efforts in local communities

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Eminem, Big Sean and Rihanna are among the biggest names in music, and they're among those stepping up to help Michigan and Detroiters fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through their foundations, the stars have committed more than $4 million in recent days to help local areas hit hard by coronavirus.

Eminem and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced Friday they'd be committing $1 million to help people in Detroit, which followed a donation of $3.2 million from a consortium of charities — including Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation and Big Sean's Sean Anderson Foundation — to help community-based organizations in Detroit and Flint.

Through their foundations, Eminem, Rihanna, and Big Sean have committed more than $4 million in recent days to help local areas hit hard by coronavirus.

The Stadler Family Foundation, the David Rockefeller Fund and Twitter's Dorsey, through his Start Small Fund, also added to the $3.2 million contribution.

Eminem's donation was announced during the rapper's appearance on Lil Wayne's Young Money Radio show on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio station.  

Em was a guest on the show and told Wayne he'd be donating $250,000 to the Detroit through his Marshall Mathers Foundation, which was founded in 2002 and provides assistance to disadvantaged and at-risk youth in Detroit and the surrounding area.

"I've got a few areas I want to take care of in Detroit," Em said. 

Twitter's Jack Dorsey called in and piggy-backed on the donation, announcing he'd provide an additional $750,000 to the Marshall Mathers Foundation, bringing the total to a cool $1 million. 

"I want to contribute even more to Detroit," Dorsey said, "so that (Em) can help as many people as possible." 

Detroiters have been hit hard in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 9,810 confirmed cases and more than 1,180 deaths reported in the city. Statewide, deaths have topped 4,550 and confirmed cases are over 47,000. 

The Flint funds were announced through Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation, which was founded in 2012. CLF and its partners have raised more than $20 million in COVID-19 response efforts.

Big Sean's Sean Anderson Foundation was among the groups that matched donations to hit the $3.2 million marker. 

The money raised will go toward access to food and water access, rental assistance, bail relief, the homeless, foster children, immigrants, refugees and domestic violence survivors, according to a statement.

Among the organizations that will benefit are Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, Detroit Coordinated Access Model Program (CAM), Freedom House, Flint Metro Community Project, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Carriage Town Ministries, Catholic Charities, My Brother’s Keeper, the Shelter of Flint, Ennis Center, Samaritas, the YWCA Safe House, Serenity House of Flint, Food Bank Council of Michigan, Genesee County Youth Corp, the Bail Project and the Center for Popular Democracy.

"I personally want to thank Rihanna and her Clara Lionel Foundation and Jack Dorsey’s Start Small Fund for stepping up to help groups in Detroit and Flint on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “This generous gift will give these essential nonprofits much needed resources to help address the needs of those impacted most by COVID-19.”

The donations are not the only ways Eminem and Big Sean have given back to the community amid the health crisis. 

Last month, Eminem supplied front-line workers at a pair of Detroit hospitals with servings of his "8 Mile"-inspired Mom's Spaghetti, serving up 400 meals for workers at Detroit Receiving Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital. 

During his appearance on Lil Wayne's show, Eminem said the food donation was "just to be able to put a smile on somebody's face and provide some food, some lunch, whatever it is." 

Also last month, Big Sean was among a group of stars — along with Ludacris, Jerome Bettis and more — who participated in an online COVID-19 fundraiser that raised $321,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan. 

Other local stars who have chipped in to help join relief efforts include Insane Clown Posse, who donated 300 T-shirts to a Pontiac charity be turned into masks; Royce da 5'9", who donated lunch and dinner for 40 workers at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn; Detroit-born Lizzo, who treated workers at Henry Ford Hospital to lunch in late March; and former Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, who along with his wife Kate Upton, provided 25,000 face masks for the Detroit Police Department, touchless thermometers for police and food for front-line workers in Detroit.