By Ryan Velez
Chance the Rapper’s philanthropy has been making plenty of headlines during the last year, and now his younger brother is getting in on the action. Black Enterprise reports that independent music artist and entrepreneur Taylor Bennett is partnering with Urban Outfitters to give back to homeless youth this holiday season.
A 21-year old Chicago native, Bennett recently explained on Urban Outfitters’ blog why he decided to work with La Casa Norte, an organization that helps provide homeless youth and families with housing and other resources. “I’m proud to work with La Casa Norte here in Chicago,” he said. “In 2002, La Casa Norte opened its doors to youth and families in Humboldt Park. Over the past 15 years, they have helped over 25,000 individuals from 43 Chicagoland zip codes move towards housing stability, self-sufficiency, and financial security.”
Bennett was fortunate growing up, but knew many people who weren’t as lucky. “I have friends who have often had to stay at my house, another friend’s, or sleep on the train. I have friends that wouldn’t go home because of issues with their families,” he said. “Chicago Public Schools (CPS) identified a record 22,144 students experiencing homelessness or housing instability in 2013-14.” Bennett, who came out as bis*xual in January, added that “a large portion of homeless youth are LGBTQ.”
He also opened up regarding his work with the clothing company. “I love Urban Outfitters,” he told Black Enterprise, noting that he was an ambassador of the retailer’s pride collection earlier this year, which celebrated LGBTQ students. “I love the fact that they’re helping not just artists, but influencers give back to a charity of their choice.”
On top of being a fan of the clothing and the company, Bennett acknowledges how the connection has benefited him and his own ambitions. “I think it’s very important to get your face out there,” he said, and “to be able to collaborate with major corporations that can give you platforms that…artists might not be able to get through music videos and touring.” On top of his own music and brand, Bennett also works with up-and-coming artists like Bianca Shaw, a rapper out of Chicago signed to his indie music label Tay Bennett Entertainment. He is also looking to work together with designer cap company New Era next year.