Stepping onto the patio, I’m greeted not by the kiss of winter’s wind but the warm breath of spring.
It feels like the end of August and not the middle of December. Kids are in the streets on their bicycles, scooters and hoverboards like they'd been all summer, wearing the clothes that they wore all summer, there isn’t a jacket, coat or hoodie in sight. It doesn’t feel like Christmas is a week away, a month that used to move at the pace of a tortoise on lean is now racing away like a hare on speed.
My first year in this apartment and no tree is filling the living room with the aroma of pine, no reef hangs from the door, no decoration that indicates the spirit of Christmas lives here. Watching the kid’s race around the complex takes me back to the simpler winters of anticipating the big book of toys from Toys “R” Us, watching the same television specials year after year and wishing for a white Christmas, a little bit of snow to really bring the holiday to life. I feel old. Christmas is different once you reach adulthood, you look forward to gift giving and not gift receiving, you wear ugly sweaters to parties and hope the alcohol doesn’t run out. The magic is gone, what was once my favorite holiday now feels like another day of the year.
In a December that feels like Christmas is nonexistent, I haven’t seen many Santas. Even though Kroger supplies my frozen pizza addiction, I haven’t seen many Saint Nicks pestering adults and engaging kids. The jolly fellow must only be online since I haven’t seen many in the streets. It’s interesting that 2 Chainz is the person that put Santa in my face the most this year. Since late November he’s been selling an ugly sweater of St. Nick doing the dab. I figured that it was another artist riding the popular wave of dabbing, everyone is doing it.
2 Chainz found the perfect way to join the mania without being painfully corny. Unlike Bow Wow and Cris Carter, Titty Boy kept the dab cool, which is why people gravitated toward it. I love the sweater; well it’s more like a sweatshirt, but the graphic is something that I would wear to every party from now to New Years. It wasn’t long before dabbing Santa took over Twitter and Instagram, everyone that was anyone was already sporting the shirt, I saw more Santa’s doing the dab than Santa’s at the mall. I’m certain that every time Cam Newton dabbed, he sold more than one sweatshirt. Chainz brought the sensation into the holidays.
What I found surprising is that 2 Chainz didn’t maliciously laugh straight to the bank like an Uncle Scrooge, he took some of the money he received with the prosperous sweatshirts and used it to change the lives of people in need of a Christmas blessing. It’s not unusual, 'tis the season for rappers to give back to the community. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas the fortunate find time to give back to the less fortunate, sharing the wealth like good Samaritans.
Acts of kindness aren’t new to the Atlanta hit maker, last year 2 Chainz gave out two U-Haul trucks full of toys to the children of Atlanta and went a step further by bringing a child in the Make-A-Wish foundation onstage with him during Street Execs Annual Christmas concert. This year he sought to help out families in need, starting with disabled veteran and single mother Deirdre Plater. The holidays have been rough for Deirdre and her family, after being unemployed for a year (something I know all too well) she was facing eviction and really needed a helping hand to overcome this rough patch. Mark Barnes, her son’s mentor, somehow got in contact with 2 Chainz which lead him to assisting the family. Not only has he paid this months’ rent but a year’s worth of rent. From this Christmas until the next she won’t have to worry about a roof being over her or her son’s head. Not only that, they’ll be able to enjoy the apartment in comfort. 2 Chainz presented them with brand new furniture for their home. Home is where the heart is and Chainz' heart is bigger than most.
It’s a wonderful story, that alone will tell you that 2 Chainz, Street Execs and his T.R.U. Foundation care a lot about people and the community. It’s a story that happened at the beginning of the month but just a few days ago he once again brought a family in need a blessing. One of the worst things that can happen to a family is losing a home due to a fire, Tamifonika Jones and her family dealt with a terrible tragedy back in September, their house caught fire and most of the family was caught inside. The unfortunate event put the mother and two of the four kids in induced comas. The youngest son, Antonio, would suffer the most, the lack of oxygen due to the carbon monoxide caused brain damage to the seven-year-old. The family found a new home but they lacked a vehicle for travel. The story reached 2 Chainz and he jumped into action. Antonio, who is now in a wheelchair due to his condition and in need of physical therapy, is able to be transported because of 2 Chainz’s generous offering of a Honda Odyssey van that is perfect for a big family and roomy enough for a wheelchair. Now it’s possible for Antonio to travel from home to rehab with ease and truly get on the road to recovery.
These are just two stories that have been made possible by one rapper who decided to combine Santa Claus and hip-hop culture. It’s heart-warming and a reminder of what the holiday truly means. Watching the videos of 2 Chainz bringing joy back to these family lives reminded me that the spirit of Christmas was alive and well. It’s the beauty of the holidays, a reminder that you never know what someone might be going through and how far a gesture of kindness can go.
Every person that we cross on a daily basis can be gliding in a personal heaven or burning in a personal hell. You just never know. If you view his Instagram, 2 Chainz is very open about why he’s so adamant about giving back to the community. He grew up without much, no one knocked on his door and changed his life, so he’s doing it now, during a phase in his life when money is no longer the biggest worry. It’s inspiring, how he plans to affect the lives of others.
Growing up, most of my Christmas holidays have been joyous, but writing this reminds me of one that wasn’t so jolly. I was really young, too young to actually remember much, but I do remember my father getting shot. It happened during his shift at Krystals, he was the manager and a robbery happened during the late shift, the gunmen shot him in the leg. I can close my eyes and clearly see the scar.
After that year he worked his hardest to guarantee his family never had a bad Christmas, in reality the best gift was that he lived to see another Christmas. No matter the tragedy, any good spirited parent would want the best for their child or children, that’s why I can commend 2 Chainz. Not every family can simply recover from hardship, some need an extra hand and he was there to extend his. Good people with good spirits always look at Christmas as a time to spread that good energy. When I see 2 Chainz, I think of my father, someone that is trying his best to give what he can if it means someone else can have some kind of happiness. It’s a quality that I hope I can carry into my adulthood, into my old age.
This hasn’t been the biggest year for 2 Chainz in terms of music, but he is still giving. One of his recent hits, “Watch Out,” recently received a video accompaniment, of course, with a cameo from Dabbin Santa. I expect the short clip to encourage an influx of dabbin Santa sweatshirt sales. That means more families are able to have a happy holiday.
Christmas is a time to be merry, 2 Chainz is bringing that merriment, hopefully it inspires others to follow in those very footsteps. I know I'm going to try.