QUEENS, New York — The gangsta gave a garden.
50 Cent gave a little more to his community on Monday morning (November 3): He and actress/singer Bette Midler were in the New York City borough of Queens for the grand opening of the Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson Community Garden on Foch Boulevard.
Midler, who described Curtis Jackson as a "giant" in entertainment, explained how she came to collaborate with 50. "We own 60 of these community gardens," she said. "We took ownership of this one. This one was a very successful one, but they wanted little renovations here and there. We looked all over town for a group that was interested in these sort of things. We found G-Unity, which is Curtis' foundation. They were interested. This garden is mainly for kids, and they do a lot of things with kids."
"It's exciting ... and it was an opportunity for me to do something for the actual kids in the community," 50 said. Fif reportedly ponied up more than $200,000.
The garden features plenty of flowers, a vegetable garden, a community area where people can have barbecues and movies will be shown — and also a rainwater-collection system. Instead of paying for water to be shipped in, the garden collects water and sends it into a tank underground, from which it can then be pumped. Fittingly, the garden was designed by a man named Professor Walter Hood, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of California at Berkeley.
For Fif, it was a chance to give back to the neighborhood he grew up in and to help his youngest fans. A couple dozen 3- and 4-year-old kids from local schools were present Monday morning not only to say thank you to the G-Unit general, but to sing a song ... about plants and vegetables. Hey, maybe Fif will start a G-Unit Jr. division one day.
"We're so glad that you're here with us/ How do you do?" the kids sang. "I'm a string bean/ Long and green/ Hanging from the vine ..."
50 addressed the locals who came out for the event from a podium.
"This a helluva opportunity, for me to collaborate with Bette," he said, after shouting to some friends from the neighborhood he hadn't seen in a while. "I didn't even know Lefty was out of jail," he said, looking into the crowd. "What's up, baby?"
On a more serious note, Fif also said that he expects children to utilize the garden more than adults, and that it was "exciting" to "directly affect their experience."
The MC-turned-philanthropist promised more events like this in the future, such as "50's First Annual 40 Day," geared toward the people who live in and around the borough's South Jamaica Houses (a.k.a. "40 Projects"). Also in the planning stages is "Baisley Day" for the neighborhood's Baisley Park, in which 50's community garden is located.
"We're gonna make it happen the way we been making it happen, right here," he told the crowd.