“I would like to give this donation of $25,000 to the Actor’s Fund in memory of the late, great Earle Hyman — who played Cosby’s father ‘Russell’ on The Cosby Show — who lived his last many years and died at the Actors’ Home, (funded and run by the Actor’s Fund),” Owens said. “I am extremely grateful to Nicki Minaj for enabling struggling actors to continue pursuing their dreams.”
Nicki reportedly replied, “I’m happy to be a part of a great cause. I wish Geoffrey much success and want him to know how loved he is. Rest in Peace to Earle Hyman.”
The self-proclaimed Queen of Rap first announced she’d be making the donation during an episode of Queen Radio earlier this month.
Owens made headlines after he was photographed working as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s in what appeared to be an attempt to shame him. Celebrities quickly rallied around him, and he has since been offered several acting roles.
[This article has been updated. The original version was published on September 6, 2018 and can be found below.]
“They took a picture of Geoffrey Owens and put this muthafuckin’ man on the muthafuckin’ internet while he was fuckin’ baggin’ up some fuckin ‘groceries to feed his muthafuckin’ family,” Nicki said. “I personally want to donate, on behalf of Queen Radio, $25,000 to Geoffrey Owens today. You know why? Let me tell you something. This man is a whole fuckin’ legend in these streets.”
Owens was photographed working at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s earlier this week and several news outlets picked up the story in what appeared to an attempt to humiliate him for having a “regular job.”
He ultimately quit his position at the popular grocery store shortly after the photo went viral.
“The pictures of me, the words that were used to describe me, were so demeaning,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was humiliating, acutely, for a very short time — and then there was this amazing rescue from the world.”
Although Owens said he was temporarily “devastated” during an interview with Good Morning America, he was touched by the outpouring of support he received from celebrities such as Halle Berry, Donnie Wahlberg, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, The Roots’ Questlove and Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams.
Director Tyler Perry even offered him a job, restoring a least a little bit of faith in humanity.
#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