Nearly a week after he was job-shamed for working at Trader Joe’s, Geoffrey Owens could be laughing all the way to the bank. Nicki Minaj plans on giving the 57-year-old Cosby Show alum a five-figure sum.
“That man is now getting so many opportunities” the rapper, 35, said on her Beats 1 show Queen Radio on Wednesday, September 5. “I personally want to donate on behalf of Queen Radio $25,000 to Geoffrey Owens today. You know why? Lemme tell you something. This man is a whole f—king legend in these streets.”
The “Chun-Li” performer also called the Trader Joe’s shopper who took a photo of Owens a “stupid f—k” for “trying to embarrass this hardworking man.”
The actor, who played Elvin Tibideaux for five seasons of The Cosby Show, had been working as a cashier at a New Jersey location of the grocery store chain to support his family between jobs. Since the controversy, the woman who took the photos — Karma Lawrence — told Us Weekly she feels “terrible” and didn’t expect the photos to go viral.
Minaj, meanwhile, elaborated on her feelings in an interview the following day. “Some people are on the internet and seeking attention, and he’s just the antithesis of that,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “So I felt like, ‘Oh my God, could you imagine?’ We all have done jobs like that, and I just thought, ‘What if that were me? Or a family member, and they were minding their own business, working to feed their family, and somebody tried to humiliate them?’ I don’t like the way that feels.”
She added, ”Tell him that I’m going to have my team contact him because I hope he doesn’t take it the wrong way. I just want to help him in any way I can.”
Minaj’s announcement came a day after filmmaker Tyler Perry offered Owens a job. “#GeoffreyOwens I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week!” the 48-year-old tweeted on Tuesday, September 4, likely referring to his show The Haves and the Have Nots. “Come join us!!! I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.”
Other celebrities have sent messages of support to Owens, as well. Judd Apatow praised him as a “fantastic, hilarious actor. Blair Underwood commended his “good, honest, hard work.” And Pamela Adlon tweeted a photo of the actor and wrote, “Work gives you pride and purpose. Your visibility as an actor never goes away. But the money sure does.”
Owens, who has recently guest-starred on such shows as Elementary and The Blacklist, thanked his supporters on Good Morning America on Tuesday, September 4. “It’s really overwhelming, in a good way,” he said. “I was really devastated, but the period of devastation was so short … My wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world of support. Fortunately, the shame part didn’t last very long. It hurt, but then [after the support], it’s amazing.”
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