Gospel recording artist Canton Jones, T.I. and wife Tiny

Written by | Ray Cornelius

“To live like a king, you must be willing to give like a king. With that being said, it gives me great honor and privilege to give to those who deserve it the most.”

Those are the words spoken by ATL’s very own, Clifford “T.I” Harris, who held a press conference this past weekend for his new humanitarian campaign.

The award-winning rapper has teamed up with the Atlanta-based Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO) for GIVE Like a King, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness and encouraging others to give back and get involved in a worthy cause. This partnership with VEO allows T.I. the opportunity to support homeless veterans through fundraising, advocacy and public service.

“No veteran who’s risked his life and everyday liberties for my own should go without. So we have aligned ourselves with people who share our enthusiasm and we are going to do as much as we can about that.”  ~ T.I.

Frantz Fortune, Executive Director of VEO

T.I. was joined by his talk show host wife, Tiny along with Executive Director of VEO, Frantz Fortune and Gospel singer Canton Jones, who served as the press conference hostT.I. also revealed future transitional housing facilities and a veteran’s garden featuring specially designed wooden benches with engraved words like “liberty” and “freedom.”

Curtis Butler with T.I. and wife Tiny

Also in attendance were several veterans including book author Curtis Butler, who made headlines recently when he paid $2,000 in electrical bills for several of his Stockbridge, GA neighbors.

Edwards Johnson and Norris Connally

However, the real treat of the day was the introduction of  Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. Edward Johnson and Mr. Norris Connally.  Johnson, an “original” Tuskegee Airman, was one of the first instrument flight instructors and Connally was part of the infamous “Thirteen Morehouse Dropouts,” a group of students who left college to enter the armed services. Both men received standing ovations from everyone in the crowd.

After the GIVE Like a King  art work unveiling, guests and press got a chance to preview the “before” stages of one of the transitional housing facilities.

Check out some other photos from the event along with excerpts from T.I.’s press conference speech…

“This is the beginning of a new day in this particular community. This is my community and anyone who’s ever heard me say my own name, you heard me say ‘Bankhead’ or ‘Westside.’  Several seconds away and down two or three streets is where I grew up. And when I say grew up, I don’t mean I just ‘came here on the weekends.’ (LOL) This is where I lived—my life.”

“If you say that you’re a king, you must accept that heavy is the head of he that wears the crown.”

 For more information about GIVE Like A King, log onto the website at www.givelikeaking.com

Photography Credit: Ray Cornelius