Why Lenny Kravitz Says He's 'Deeply Thinking' About Selling Everything He Owns
The rock star opens up about his Bahamian charity work and reveals he's considering leaving fame and fortune behind to help others even more
Most days on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, “I wake up, eat some fruit from my garden, take a bike ride, make some music,” Lenny Kravitz tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, describing the six months out of the year he spends at his island home, a world away from his other place in Paris.
But on this particular day, Kravitz sits trying to coax a terrified 7-year-old boy named Jeffery, whose gums have completely grown over his front teeth, into having a life-changing dental procedure. It’s day two of Kravitz and his dentist Dr. Jonathan Levine’s yearly free dental clinic and the temporary facility is jam-packed with locals seeking treatment.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Kravitz, 54, says of being able to give back to the poverty-stricken island that he loves. It’s also a way for him to stay connected to his Bahamian roots. “My mom [the late Jeffersons actress Roxie Roker] always said charity starts at home.”
Raised in New York City and later Los Angeles, Kravitz grew up spending summers in the islands visiting his maternal side of the family (his dad, of Ukrainian Jewish descent, was late TV producer Sy Kravitz). For Roker, “her whole thing was about me knowing my culture,” he says.
Kravitz set down roots of his own in the Bahamas 30 years ago, but says nothing has been more rewarding than bringing smiles to the people around him, through his Let Love Rule Foundation and Levine’s GLO Good Foundation. Recently Kravitz and Levine’s sons Julian and Cody launched Twice Toothpaste with flavors for the day and night to help promote dental hygiene and raise funds to expand the clinic.
Kravitz first decided to help through dental care when he learned a neighbor on the island was packing a painful hole in his tooth with pepper and a piece of paper from a matchbook. The first time he brought Levine to visit, “we must have seen about 15 people, all having serious problems, missing teeth, rotting teeth, inductions.”
Now in its fourth year, the clinic Kravitz helped start served 430 people in January. The change he’s been able to make is so fulfilling, it has him contemplating a major shift. “There are so many people that need care. At this point in my life, it’s all about service.”
He continues, “I was thinking yesterday, ‘Man, I just want to sell everything I own.’ There are a lot of things I can get rid of that aren’t important to me anymore, and even if they are, not more important than helping somebody.” Looking out the window of his recording studio on the island he loves, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea: “I’m deeply thinking about it.”
For much more on Lenny Kravitz’s life now, loves and rewarding charity work, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.