Nicki Minaj Donated $25,000 To Geoffrey Owens. Here's How He Paid It Forward.

"I am extremely grateful."

Former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens has received an outpouring of support since he was recently photographed bagging groceries at Trader Joe's. Not only did many on Twitter defend him against job shaming, but rapper Nicki Minaj announced that she would be giving him $25,000.

Now, Owens is paying it forward. He told TMZ that he will be donating the money to the Actors Fund, in memory of fellow Cosby actor Earle Hyman, who lived the final years of his life in the Actors Home, an assisted-living facility run by the organization. "I am extremely grateful to Nicki Minaj for enabling struggling actors to continue pursuing their dreams," he said in a statement.


According to People, Minaj had shared her support for Owens on her show Queen Radio, calling him "a whole f—ing legend." She approved of how Owens has chosen to use the money, telling TMZ, "I'm happy to be a part of a great cause. I wish Geoffrey much success and want him to know how loved he is. Rest in peace to Earle Hyman."

Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell thanked Owens and Minaj for the donation in a statement. "This donation will help us provide essential programs and services to thousands of entertainment and performing arts professionals in need across the country every year." He added that the organization would be dedicating an Actors Home room in Hyman's honor.

Since the photo of him went viral, Owens has also received some job offers. He landed a guest spot on NCIS: New Orleans, with executive producer Christopher Silber saying the show "needed someone with compassion, competence, and heart" for the role. He'll also appear on Tyler Perry's OWN series The Haves and Have Nots

"I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist," Perry wrote on Twitter.

As Nicki Minaj told Entertainment Tonight of her choice to give Owens the money, "We all have done jobs like that and I just thought, 'What if that were me? Or a family member and they were minding their own business, working to feed their family and somebody tried to humiliate them?' I don't like the way that feels."

Cover image: Gary Gershoff / WireImage / Getty Images | JStone /


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