Angie Rose Talks Puerto Rico Relief Efforts, Misconceptions About Hurricane Maria Aftermath
Angie Rose experienced the side of Puerto Rico that most news cameras haven’t captured after much of the island was impacted by Hurricane Maria late last year. Now, the Christian Hip Hop artist is using her platform to help beauty rise from the ashes of the ravaged island and inspiring others to join the movement.
The Puerto Rican lyricist from the Bronx was moved to donate all of the proceeds from her Unstoppable Threadz clothing line to relief efforts in Florida and Texas when Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria struck those areas last August and September. When Hurricane Maria began to tear through Puerto Rico weeks later, Angie knew she had to take things a step further.
“When the Puerto Rico situation happened I had some realizations that although the crisis was the same for the individuals in both Texas and Florida, the situations the people were in wasn’t. There was already poverty in Puerto Rico prior to the Hurricane,” Angie told Rapzilla this week. “There were already people struggling [and] infrastructure just wasn’t equipped. I knew sending a couple dollars out there wasn’t really going to be effective.”
Still, that didn’t stop Angie from teaming up with her pastor to create a relief concert in 10 days. Through social media, the sales of her clothing, and street evangelism, Angie was able to raise $5,000 to take to the island.
Yet, the money didn’t seem to be nearly enough to make a dent in the needs of countless people who lost their homes, had no food, supplies, or electricity. Angie decided to pray about the matter.
“I’m like, ‘God, what do we do? What’s really supposed to happen,’” she recalled. “‘Am I supposed to go out there and encourage people to give them a meal for a day or can we do more?’ So I’m just praying and out of nowhere we just started getting calls and calls.”
Some of those calls came from the Ricky Martin Foundation and FEMA and before she knew it, she was offered 500 boxes of food to distribute on the island. Still, Angie had vehicles on hand to help her transport those supplies.
After more prayer and reaching out to people on and off of social media, the Bronx emcee was supplied with three large trucks. She and her team were able to fill the trucks twice with food for 500 people, diapers, water, and 2,000 solar lights.
“God just really multiplied what we had which is his promise, right? When you think about the parable of the talents, think about how some people didn’t do anything with it,” she said, noting that God was proud of those who worked with the little that they had. “I think that’s what I witnessed. I saw God take the little that we had and make it much.”
Angie’s first visit to Puerto Rico happened late last year around November before she returned for another trip in January. While news outlets like CNN are trying to make sense of the death toll in Puerto Rico, Angie actually witnessed people dying right before her eyes.
“I knocked on somebody’s door to give them a care package and as soon as I knocked I heard them yell in the room. Somebody’s mother passed away right then,” the rapper recalled. “So I knew that the death toll wasn’t what they were saying because we were experiencing death right in front of our face while we were doing missions.”
The music artist admits that she had no idea how bad things were on the island when hearing news reports from the comfort of the Bronx. Angie was shocked when she was able to witness the devastation first hand.
“I think one of the biggest misconceptions when I first got there was that San Juan started to get light. Then people assumed that meant the entire island was now lit. To this day there’s about 80 percent of the island that’s still living without light,” she revealed. “There’s an entire island called Culebra that still has no light.”
Since first arriving in Puerto Rico to aid in relief efforts, Angie has received 501(c)(3) status for her nonprofit organization called Unstoppable Foundation. She is collecting donations through the foundation for nine distribution sites where people in Puerto Rico can receive meals and supplies.
The Unstoppable Foundation is also in the process of building a community center called Centro De Amor. This will house missionaries and offer training and career opportunities for people on the island. Her new music video “Son Shine In The Rain” was filmed in the community center that is still under construction.
Watch Angie Rose Below:
While Angie seems to be exhausting every opportunity to help rebuild the island where her grandmother lives, she understands the pain that people are still facing. The rapper and singer lost a mother figure in her life in the midst of touring and trying to aid in relief efforts.
Now, Puerto Ricans are facing new challenges since the Transitional Shelter Assistance program that has been providing shelter for evacuees will end on June 30.
This means that those who have been relying on the shelter will either be homeless in the states when June ends or have to return back to Puerto Rico. Angie admits that she doesn’t always have the right words to say when hearing about the hardships that her people are facing. She did, however, offer some encouragement to those struggling.
“The seed needs the dirt in order to become the rose. In this season where everything seems dark just think it’s not dark it’s where you’ve been planted, Angie said. “Your season of growth will come. With that, I try to remind people that the water is necessary and I try to be that water.”
In this case, Angie hopes her foundation’s community center can become the water in people’s lives.
“That’s why our community center isn’t just, ‘hey, come get some food.’ We have entrepreneurs that are coming in and looking for employees,” she said. “If you get a training at our community center then now you don’t just have food for today, you have seed for tomorrow. So that’s what I try to remind people to not just look for bread but look for things that can help them in the future.”
Watch Angie Rose in Puerto Rico Below:
To learn more about Angie Rose’s Unstoppable Foundation, click here.