On April 28 in New Orleans, Percy “Master P” Miller celebrated his 53rd birthday with a benefit concert for the You Are Not Alone Foundation, a nonprofit he founded to honor his late daughter.
The hometown event for the rap mogul came 11 months after the death of Tytyana Miller from an accidental drug overdose involving fentanyl, the highly potent synthetic opioid. She was just 25 years old.
The concert in her memory, aiming to promote dialogue on the stigma surrounding substance abuse and mental illness, was held at the Smoothie King Center in downtown New Orleans.
“Last year was such a success; we performed to a sold-out crowd. I realized I could use this platform to make a difference for good,” Miller said before the event.
“So, we decided to bring awareness to a cause that is near and dear to my heart: mental health… we are turning our pain into purpose to save lives.”
The concert featured a slate of popular Black recording artists from the South, including Erykah Badu, Jagged Edge, Mia X, the Ying Yang Twins, Plies, Lloyd, and Webbie. A special performance of the 1995 song “You Are Not Alone” was sung by a choir under the direction of one of New Orleans’ own, the Grammy-nominated gospel artist Josh Kagler.
“I dedicate this to my daughter,” Miller said before the song was sung in the well-packed arena.
According to Miller, the artists included were all personally connected to the theme of the event.
“We have all been affected by substance abuse and or mental illness in some way. I want to let people know, they are not alone in this struggle,” he said in a statement.
“If we can reach someone through our gifts, then our work is not in vain.”
Miller also used the event to promote the National Alliance on Mental Illness, of which he is an official ambassador, as well as the pharmaceutical company U.S. WorldMeds. Samples of ZIMHI, an injectable drug used to stabilize patients following an opioid overdose, were distributed by company representatives after the show.
Hardly a somber affair, the concert—held on the first day of the international JazzFest celebration in New Orleans—featured the city’s trademark spirit of joy, complete with an improvised second line led by Da Truth Brass Band with Robert Joseph Jackson and the Zulu Tramps.
Master P himself, a Black Catholic father of 9, founded the highly successful independent label No Limit Records in 1994 and has since gone on to incubate several of his artists’ continued careers. These include his son, Percy “Romeo” Miller, and his brothers Silkk the Shocker and C-Murder. Snoop Dogg was also a member of the label for a brief period in the late 1990s.
Today, Master P is known as one of the most successful hip-hop artists in history, and was formerly ranked in the top 10 of Forbes’ list of highest-paid entertainers. His philanthropic work has extended into Church affairs, including a highly publicized effort in 1999 to save several Catholic churches and schools in his hometown, including his childhood parish and alma mater.
Among his various media enterprises, Master P has become a filmmaker, television producer, and actor, and has innovated several merchandise lines partnered with national distributors. He also serves as a public speaker covering financial literacy, economic empowerment, and—since last year—mental health.
Those interested in making a donation to his You Are Not Alone Foundation can do so on the organization’s website.
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger and a seminarian with the Josephites.