by Samantha Denäe
J. Cole is becoming an all around activist and humanitarian. Coming off of, what is being dubbed as the best album of 2014 with his latest LP 2014 Forest Hills Drive and penning a track in response to the killing of Ferguson teen Michael Brown, the North Carolina native is now making a noble gesture for single mothers.
Wanting to literally invite fans into his childhood home, Cole is taking the initiative to use the home as a haven for single mothers with multiple children, letting them live rent-free for two years, according to BET and The Root.
In a recent interview with the Combat Jack Show, the rapper spoke about his childhood, new music, and success. He also discussed the experience of being an army brat and living in military housing to moving to a trailer park to a single family home on Forest Hills Drive. In wanting to give young kids the same opportunity and feeling he had after moving into the infamous address, Cole said:
“In the South, especially in North Carolina, it’s like this, I can’t speak for Atlanta, I’m not from there. But North Carolina is like this. That was my first glimpse of the hood. This is not Eminem, 8 Mile. Shit was fucked up. No disrespect to people that’s still in the trailers and shit but that’s what it is. It’s very affordable housing. Very affordable. The neighborhood we lived in was fucked up. I was a kid. The reason why it had such a big effect on me is that I was coming from somewhere else. I was coming from a military base. My father was in the army and my mother was too, she got out when she had me. Before I was 1 we moved back [from Germany] to Fayetteville, Fort Bragg.
My parents separated before I was even conscious. After we moved back they were separated. When they got divorced we had to move out of the military quarters ’cause you can only live there if you’re married. That’s like real nice housing, it ain’t no mansion but it’s safe. Everybody got jobs, everybody got benefits ’cause they’re all in the Army. When I’m four years old we have to move; it’s me, my brother, and my mother and we moved to Spring Lake, a little outskirt area of Fayetteville. We moved to the trailer park in Spring Lake. It was my first taste of like, ‘Oh, shit. This is nothing like where we came from.’ I knew the energy was not right. I knew my mother was the only white lady in the neighborhood and there was no man in the house.”
If you remember from the track ‘Apparently’ [2014 Forest Hills Drive], Cole details how his mother lost their home due to foreclosure while in college in NYC and during his interview he discussed his decision to purchase the home years later and it use it as a haven for single mothers.
“Nah, I don’t really live there. What we gon’ do, we still working it out right now, obviously it’s a detailed, fragile situation I don’t wanna play with. My goal is to have that be a haven for families. So every two years a new family will come in, they live rent-free. The idea is that it’s a single mother with multiple kids and she’s coming from a place where all her kids is sharing a room. She might have two, three kids, they’re sharing a room. She gets to come here rent free. I want her kids to feel how I felt when we got to the house.”
Photo Cred: Complex Magazine
He also joked about how his home is gaining a lot of attention since the album release,
“By the way, tell people to stop going to my house and sitting on my roof taking pictures, and they stealing the fucking street sign.”
It’s refreshing to see a celebrity use this kind of platforms to help people from their old neighborhood especially single mothers. It’s inspiring.
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