Keeping it real with Nate WashingtonWritten by lilD | | firstname.lastname@example.org
He’s won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was paid a hefty eight-figure salary for joining the Tennessee Titans. This upcoming season will be his sixth with the NFL. If football was hip hop, this would be the equivalent of four platinum-selling albums and six Grammy Awards. And he’s not even 30 yet.
Toledo native Nate Washington is living the hip hop dream. He may be a wide receiver for a professional football team, but the vision is the same: fancy cars, big house, financial freedom, and the biggest perk, the ability to give back.
Just like aspiring rappers who sit in their rooms for hours thinking of the most charismatic way to deliver a rhyme, Nate has been playing football since he was a kid, perfecting his craft and sharpening his skills. The stage may be different, but the result is the same: when the spotlight is on, he performs.
Off the field, the show doesn’t stop for Washington. One of the biggest stigmas in hip hop is an artist turning his or her back on the community in which he or she was raised. This city is usually the catalyst that propelled him or her to stardom in the first place; to leave it behind as if it never existed would be preposterous. But no one had to tell Washington that. Every Thanksgiving, Washington gives away free turkeys in the heart of the inner city, in the plaza on Bancroft and Franklin. It is far from the best neighborhood, and others would quickly turn their backs on the residents. But Washington embraces the city. He issued prizes for the winners of the famed City Park Tournament, a basketball competition held every summer, and has an annual school supply giveaway. And on Christmas, the SeaGate Centere was filled with toys and coats for his annual giveaway. Perhaps the biggest word here is annual; in hip hop, consistency is everything.
But Nate doesn’t stop there. Any hip hop artist could buy toys and write them off on their taxes. Realizing that there is a bad situation with the youth in Toledo, Washington is presently buying new jerseys for a mid-city football league he started in 2008. He played for such a league, as did all his friends, and he knows the mentoring aspect is highly beneficial. His charitable works are proof that he believes in his nonprofit organization’s mission statement: “Impacting the community, by inspiring the youth.”
Lots of hip hop artists hold workshops for aspiring artists, encouraging creativity and promoting positivism. Washington has followed those footsteps, and parents can look forward to Nate Washington’s First Annual Football Clinic, this Saturday, May 8 for kids ages 8-17. The camp will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Maumee Soccer Center (1620 Market Place Drive). It is not too late to register; the forms can be filled out at www.85th.org. There will be more than ten NFL players at the camp, including Chris Johnson and Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans.
This weekend, Toledo will be home to Nate Washington’s First Annual Celebrity Bash. Friday, the festivities will take place at Plush Nightclub (338 N Huron St). The event will be hosted by NFL player Willie Parker, with more than ten NFL players in attendance. Proper attire is a must, and patrons must be twenty-one and older. Saturday, the party continues at Omni (2567 W Bancroft St), and will be nothing short of a star-studded event. Platinum hit-maker Mannie Fresh will DJ the event, and there will be performances from Trina, Young Buck, Slim Thug,and more. It’s hosted by NFL legend Jerome Bettis and several other NFL greats. For only $30, an aspiring celebrity can party with their heroes in VIP, with Patron treatment as well. But does Washington spend the profit from this event on another expensive car? No; all the proceeds go to his nonprofit organization, the 85th Foundation.
If that ain’t hip hop, I don’t know what is.