The renowned Queens lyricist headed to Harlem on Wednesday (December 22) to serve Christmas dinner to families affected by HIV/AIDS as part of an event run by music industry professional turned activist Maria Davis. And the Illmatic MC was more than willing to lend a hand, and his celebrity, to help the cause.
"This event is Maria Davis' thing. She's HIV-positive, a part of the community of Harlem, so she does her thing for [the] holiday season for the people who are infected by AIDS or affected by AIDS," he explained to MTV News. "I came through [on the] strength of her friend Melba, who owns Melba's Restaurant — great soul food on 114th street here in Harlem. She called me [and] I came through just for the support."
Esco maintained that despite his status as an influential hip-hop lyricist and hitmaker, showing support to those who are less fortunate continues to remain a top priority.
"For me, it's like I can't get away from the community. The community is in me so giving back is important," he said. Nas also added that helping others doesn't have to include logging hours at charity events, but said people can inspire by being successful game-changers in their own right.
"I think when you give back, you just do your thing. You come from a neighborhood like I came from and you just do your thing, that's all you gotta do [to inspire]," he said. " 'Cause every kid that sees you doing your thing, you can't even imagine what you're doing for that kid or that grown up. They see you doing your thing, that's inspiration. There's kids that went to school with me who are grown men now. There's dudes that's been listening to my music for a long time and the more they see me continue, that's enough. That's all they need to say 'Yo, I could do it.' " The Distant Relatives MC admitted that he has plenty to learn when it comes to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and noted that social stigma surrounding the disease has often stymied the public's informed awareness of the issue. "The thing about AIDS is you start to raise your eyebrow at how it affects certain communities. [The] homosexual community [and] African-American community was really the first [to report cases of HIV infection], right, so, kinda, those two communities got blamed for it — even almost like they invented it. That's not the truth. So it's affected everybody now, every community. It makes you want to learn about it," he said. "When Eazy-E caught it ... and my man Magic Johnson, it touched us. But then we waiting, like, to see what's next [and] that's not cool. So my whole thing is to learn more about it." What do you think about Nas' comments about HIV/AIDS? Let us know in the comments!