Monday, December 15, 2008
“J Stills” shows the true sprit of Christmas in the form of a free coat giveaway
The spirit of Christmas is reflected in the smiles of the children and in the jolly mood they showed when they received 40 coats from an unexpected philanthropist.
James Stills, 28, a hip-hop artist, known among his underground recording artists as "J Stills", recently handed out 40 winter coats to needy kids throughout Racine's central city.
Stills, a Walden III High School graduate who also attended UW-Parkside, says reaching prominence is tough, but his successful career has enabled him to give back to his community.
"It's difficult for a young person to find a way to get into the music industry. It's a lot of trial and error," he explained.
He said underground groups are becoming more and more popular. This summer, working with national recording artists, Stills performed as the opening act for V.I.C., who recorded the hit song ‘Get Silly’ and the group Get Fresh in Madison, to a huge turn-out. These regional shows have made him popular in the underground hip-hop community. Stills does extensive collaboration with national hip-hop groups. Being viewed by national celebrities, he hopes that one day he too will be performing on the national circuit.
But more important to him right now is trying to make a few children’s Christmas better. "What is important here,” he said, "is a lot of people out there, from all facets of life, are having it hard." Stills said he has always wanted to be involved in charitable activities. "I have not always been in the position that I am in now. I could not think of a better way to spend that money than trying to help others," says Stills, who also works for SC Johnson as an IS Analyst.
Stills said he has lived in Racine all of his life and the community has embraced him --whether it was his music or just keeping him safe.
"They have been there in my time of need," he admits. "Now, I have an opportunity to give a little back, I am going to take that opportunity because you never know, I can be ok today and then something could happen to me, and I could be back in the position where I would need the community again."
He says it’s the little things that people remember. "I bought some coats and gave them away -- you never know, it may change one of those children’s lives, just the realization that someone cares outside of their own immediate family" he thinks.
Stills said that he used the George Bray Center as the distribution point because they have the best connection with young people in the community. He added that he hopes to make this an annual event and encourages others in the community to do the same.
"A more important thing you can give young people is your time," he said. "It's something that everyone can give."