(Song: In The Hood by Trae Tha Truth)
Recognize this song? If you don’t, chances are your kids would.
Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth, whose real name is Frazier Thompson III, is mostly known for two things — his music and his charity work. The latter earned him a special honor in 2008 when then-Mayor Bill White proclaimed July 22 as “Trae Day.”
Now, Houston Habitat for Humanity wants to benefit from Trae’s status in the community to reach more low-income residents who may be eligible for a new home built by the organization.
Houston Habitat Executive Director Algenita Scott Davis says many people don’t know that they can become homeowners.
“This whole concept of homeownership is the one area where low-income people can make a significant change in their lives, it’s the one area where individuals can stop moving at the end of the lease, it’s the one area where they can change the environment in which they’re raising their children, and we want to get that word out.”
She says Trae approached them saying he wanted to help. The rapper says he wants to show lower income earners that they have options.
“I came up within the community and didn’t necessarily have a helping hand. I didn’t have a person of my stature doing music or anything to actually give me an opportunity, so I just chose to do different with my chances, like with everything I got going on. I just like to actually be that helping hand or that big brother to people.”
Like many rappers, Trae is not without controversy. In 2009, after that year’s “Trae Day” celebration, a gunman opened fire on the crowd, injuring several people. Last summer, Trae himself was shot and three others killed at a Houston club. Two years ago, Trae sued a local hip-hop radio station for not playing his songs after a dispute between the station and the rapper.
Stephen Sye with Houston Habitat says there’s often controversy surrounding entertainers, but that doesn’t change the positive impact Trae can make.
“What we’re looking for is the opportunity of his being able to make a difference, and he has his own network of philanthropic network and outreach arm and he has an ability in his heart that he really wants to make that difference and so that’s the driver for us.”
Trae says shootings and controversies don’t keep him from continuing to do what he thinks is important.
“Regardless whatever situation may happen, man, you know, I kind of let go and leave it in the hands of God and keep moving.”
Houston Habitat and Trae will work together in several events this year, including the Houston Habitat application fair on Feb. 2, the NBA All-Star Build Day and a fundraiser concert.
For more information on Houston Habitat for Humanity, go to houstonhabitat.org.