Chris Rock’s latest comedy special may have taken him all over the globe, but when it came time for him to support children in need, Rock looked no further than his old Brooklyn roots. Rock talks to ESSENCE.com
Last Wednesday, Chris along with his wife Malaak, officially unveiled the renovated Salvation Army Bushwick Community Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Rocks partnered with Target, who made a $1 million donation to the Salvation Army to modernize 40 of its libraries throughout the country, including the home of Chris’s childhood after school and summer program. “I played here as a kid after school. I played pool, basketball, foosball, I got beat up here a couple of times and I learned how to fight here too,” deadpans Chris. “And he was baptized here too,” adds Malaak.
Through the Rocks relationship with the Salvation Army and Target, Malaak was able to ask that the Bushwick center to be considered for a greater New York’s $25,000 grant. The facility has been modernized with new books, furniture, flooring and a computer lab. But Malaak didn’t stop there. She asked Dell (Product) RED to donate 18 computers. “For me, as a parent, I feel like reading is fundamental. I really believe that you need to be computer literate,” says Malaak. “When we were told we had a $100,000 dollars, that’s what I really wanted to do is get the computer lab and the library.” For Chris, renovating his community center was as simple as “giving kids something to do.”
While Chris was modest acknowledging his support, his wife let it be known his charity isn’t lighthearted. “Many people don’t realize Chris has been giving to this center in so many ways long before I got involved by picking up bus loads of kids and taking them to Toys “R” Us or baseball games or Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, without any of the press and promotions his wife likes to bring,” says Malaak. “That’s because he cares deeply.”