While Atlanta’s NeNe Leakes garners all the headlines on “Celebrity Apprentice,” her fellow Atlantan Lil Jon has been (relatively) quietly evading Donald Trump’s wagging finger to make it to the final six on the show. (A source of mine says he makes it at least to the final four on the show, which was taped primarily last fall but the finale will air this month live.)
The rap star best known for his “crunk” style and hit song “Get Low” has the gold teeth, the dreads and the perpetual sunglasses. It’s the exterior persona any hip-hop fan knows and loves. But this show has given us a chance to see a side of him not readily apparent in his music videos: a laid back, yet intelligently competitive edge. He bonded well with Meat Loaf, Mark McGrath and the other “John,” John Rich. Sure, they are all from different musical genres but all respect each other as artists and businessmen. (Gary Busey? That’s a whole different story!)
So far, Lil Jon has won two team challenges as project manager, both against NeNe. As a result, he has won $80,000 for United Methodist Children’s Home, which has been around since 1871 in Decatur. They provide foster care and adoption services, as well as independent living facilities for young adults.
Director of programs for the operations Terence Johnson said he wasn’t sure why Lil Jon chose his charity though Lil Jon in an NBC video explained he had a brother and sister in foster care. The monies, Johnson told me today, will be used to refurbish either the aging family housing building or the independent living building.
“I thought it was an awesome opportunity,” Johnson said. “He’s doing a great job. We hope he keeps on going and raises more money.”
He has met Lil Jon a couple times before while working in foster care and has seen the man close down a part of Toys R Us for the kids. “He puts his money where his mouth is,” Johnson said.
And when Lil Jon (real name: Jonathan Mortimer Smith) chose the charity, he visited the home on alumni day and spent four hours on campus.
The home, which gets most of its $7 million annual budgetary support from the United Methodist Church and private donations, plans to hold a big thank-you appreciation party for Lil Jon later this month.
Leakes, in the meantime, is supporting a charity called Atlanta Mission’s My Sister’s House for Women Against Domestic Abuse. Unfortunately, with two losses, she has not earned a penny for the charity. And her bullying attitude, while making for great TV, is not exactly a great example for folks at My Sister’s House.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog