The rapper also thanked frontline workers for risking their own lives to help people during the health crisis

By Benjamin VanHoose
April 21, 2020 09:40 AM
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Birdman is aiming to ease the burden of those financially impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in his hometown.

On Monday, the 51-year-old rapper announced on Instagram that he intends to pay one month’s rent for those living in the community where he grew up in New Orleans. Birdman (born Bryan Williams) told his followers to “stay safe” and called on other local figures and organizations to pay it forward to community members in need.

“I would like 2 offer to pay everybody rent for month of May (for those who in need) in residents area of UPTOWN New Orleans where I was born and raised at,” Birdman wrote on Instagram. “… also wanna thank all hospital [workers] on front line risking they life to save lives.”

The Cash Money Records co-founder previously spoke about his beginnings in New Orleans, explaining that watching his father own small businesses in their community inspired his own entrepreneurial pursuits.

“He had a few bars, he had grocery stores, a washerette. He did a lot of things,” Birdman told Forbes in 2015. “Growing up watching him run his business, he taught us to be self-employed, to try to do things on your own and be your own boss.”

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Like Birdman, other celebrities are paying it forward during the global health crisis. Saturday Night Live‘s Michael Che also committed to helping out in the form of rent assistance with a sentimental driver to his generosity.

After his grandmother died due to complications from the coronavirus earlier in the month, the comedian, 36, announced last week that he’d pay the rent of the residents in his late grandma’s former New York City apartment.

“It’s crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can’t even work,” Che wrote on Instagram. “Obviously I can’t offer much help by myself, but in the spirit and memory of my late grandmother, I’m paying one month’s rent for all 160 apartments in the NYCHA building she lived in.”

He continued: “I know that’s just a drop in the bucket, so I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, AT THE VERY LEAST.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.