Geoffrey Owens, the former “Cosby Show” actor shamed earlier this month for working at Trader Joe’s, is paying it forward after receiving thousands of dollars from rapper Nicki Minaj.
Minaj offered to support Owens, 57, after learning he worked as a grocery clerk in between acting gigs. During an episode of her “Queen Radio” show on Beats 1, the rapper described Owens as “a whole f***ing legend.”
“That man is now getting so many opportunities,” she said, “I personally want to donate $25,000.”
But Owens, who has since received a handful of high-profile job opportunities, including a spot in a 10-episode arch on producer Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots,” made the decision to give the money away.
#GeoffreyOwens I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!! I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) September 4, 2018
Instead of keeping the cash, the actor has decided to give the money to The Actors Fund, a charitable organization that supports performers and behind-the-scenes workers in the performing arts and entertainment industries.
“I would like to give this donation of $25,000 to The Actors Fund in memory of the late, great Earle Hyman — who played Cosby’s father, Russel, on ‘The Cosby Show’ — who lived his last many years and died in The Actors’ Home (funded and run by The Actors Fund),” Owens said in a statement to TMZ.
Brian Mitchell, chair of The Actors Fund, thanked Owens for his generous contribution:
"Thank you to Geoffrey Owens for paying forward his gift from Nicki Minaj & making a very generous donation of $25,000 to our work. ”~@bstokesmitchell, #TheActorsFund Chairman. Read more about #GeoffreyOwens & #NickiMinaj's support of performing artists. https://t.co/osxTVp26ii
— The Actors Fund (@TheActorsFund) September 25, 2018
Mitchell went on to say he is “greatly humbled and truly inspired” by Owens’ and Minaj’s efforts to “take action to help their colleagues when they need it most,” adding, “This donation will help us provide essential programs and services to thousands of entertainment and performing arts professionals in need across the country every year.”
Minaj, for her part, said she is “happy to be a part of a great cause,” praising Owens for his charitable contribution. She went on to say she wishes the actor “much success and want him to know how loved he is.”
As for Perry’s offer, a representative for Owens announced this week the actor has accepted and plans to star in the famous producer’s show, though his exact role has not yet been revealed.