Nat King Cole's Daughters Celebrate Legend's Legacy at Charity Event: 'We Love Empowering Kids'

"He believed that he could bring harmony among people with his music. We want to continue that dream in a time when we really need it," says Casey Cole

For Nat King Cole's twin daughters Timolin and Casey Cole, his iconic, "The Christmas Song," takes on new meaning.

With the introduction of "Can We Talk To The World?," a song and music video produced by their Nat King Cole Generation Hope charity, and presented during the holiday season, the twins immerse in their father's prodigious musical legacy.

"We produced 'Can We Talk To The World?' to celebrate our father and the power of music to nurture young people," Timolin, 60, tells PEOPLE during Wednesday's Nat King Cole Generation Hope holiday event at The Ray hotel in Delray Beach, Florida.

"We need to embolden their spirits at a time when so many children face a journey of unprecedented challenges — emotionally, socially and academically — particularly during the holiday season which can be lonely," she adds.

The new song, performed by pop singer Haven Star with choruses from South Florida children, is an anthem of hope for emerging from the pandemic.

nat king cole event
Gabrielle Wilde Photography

"Dad would be so proud of this impactful song because he was an agent of social change," says Casey. "It is a song for kids, by kids, and performed by kids. Music is a safe space in these times."

The Nat King Cole Generation Hope, founded by the twins in 2008, who have raised $2.5 million to date, provides access to music education for children with the greatest need by cultivating opportunities and funding year-round programs for instruction, mentoring and resources.

"Now more than ever music education is urgently needed," says Casey. "To enable children to discover themselves in the strings of a violin or the keys of a piano is to help them find dignity and hope."

Christmastime is happy and bittersweet for the twins because they miss their father, mother Maria, sister Natalie, and other family members who have passed away. When they hear "The Christmas Song" — "that is when the holidays start for us," says Timolin — they focus on the wonderful memories of their talented father, who was also a kind and generous man.

For many years, he brought people together with his music and charm that has never been forgotten.

RELATED VIDEO: McDonald's Is Giving Out Free Food Every Day Until Christmas Eve, Thanks to Mariah Carey

"We are so proud that our father touched the soul with his voice and was a quiet leader in the arts," says Casey. "He believed that he could bring harmony among people with his music. We want to continue that dream in a time when we really need it."

In addition to the performance of "Can We Talk To The World?" the Generation Hope event also featured video endorsements of the charity and its musical education purpose from superstar performers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie.

Another highlight was a screen presentation of Alicia Keys' beautiful words about the iconic singer and Generation Hope: "Your father's grace, elegance and strength are the shoulders on which we stand. Thank you for continuing his legacy." (On Keys new album, "Keys," she features a song called "Nat King Cole.")

nat king cole event
Gabrielle Wilde Photography

The event also held a silent auction with prizes, including a copy of the new limited edition book, "Nat King Cole: Stardust," a 272-page volume by David Wills, chronicling Nat's life and work as a singer, jazz musician, actor, TV entertainer, style icon and barrier breaker.

The book also features 200 never-before-published photos, comments from celebrity friends like Jane Fonda, a forward by singer Johnny Mathis, and contributions from Timolin and Casey. A portion of proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Generation Hope.

The twins, who have their own grown children (Timolin has two and Casey has one), lead busy lives at home in south Florida and around the country running the charity.

"We love empowering young kids," says Timolin.

"We were taught to have a sense of purpose, take responsibility and keep dad's legacy alive through children. When the parents tell us our contributions have made their son or daughter's life complete, we feel wonderful and know our dad would be thrilled."

Related Articles