NAS AND DJ CASSIDY RAISE ENOUGH TO HELP CITY HARVEST FEED OVER 2.5M NEW YORKERS FOR A DAY
All Proceeds from the ‘Concert to Feed NYC’ Benefit City Harvest, New York City’s First and Largest Food Rescue Organization, as NYC Continues to Face Record-High Rates of Food Insecurity
Legendary MC Honored with Key to Queens Alongside City Harvest Frontline Workers
(September 24, 2021 at 3pm)
New York, NY—On September 23, Grammy-winning and legendary hip-hop artist Nas returned to his hometown of Queens, New York to headline the Concert to Feed NYC at Forest Hills Stadium following the chart-topping release of King’s Disease II. Proceeds from the concert benefitted City Harvest, New York City’s first and largest food rescue organization, and will help the organization rescue and deliver nutritious food during a time of historic food insecurity across the city. Native New Yorker, world renowned mastro, record producer, and creator of the groundbreaking series, “Pass The Mic,” DJ Cassidy, kicked off the night with an electric hour long musical journey celebrating New York.
Celebrities in attendance included Girls Who Code Founder Reshma Saujani, model and City Harvest Champion Brooks Nader, and rapper and record-producer Slick Rick. The Concert to Feed NYC also featured VIP Speakeasy suites and mini-lounges with menus curated by City Harvest Food Council Members, including chef Angie Mar from her latest, Les Trois Chevaux, and exclusive culinary offerings from Matt Katakis’s Butcher Bar, Simon Kim and David Shim’s COTE Korean Steakhouse, Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Prandya’s Rahi, and Melba Wilson’s Melba’s. They were joined by Nas’s favorite, Lauren Gustus’s Sweet Chick.
After the concert, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards honored Nas with an official Key to the Borough and proclamation. A longtime supporter of City Harvest, Nas received the key alongside 10 frontline City Harvest workers, who worked tirelessly during the height of the pandemic to rescue and deliver more than 200 million pounds of nutritious food to their neighbors across New York City—an unprecedented effort that was more than double the amount of food the organization rescued and delivered over the same time period pre-pandemic.
As New York City begins its long recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, countless New Yorkers will continue to feel the economic pain of the pandemic for years to come. The Concert to Feed NYC helped support City Harvest’s efforts to ensure that no New Yorker will have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.
“We are grateful to our longtime friend Nas and to DJ Cassidy for partnering with City Harvest to raise enough funds to help us feed over 2.5M New Yorkers struggling to put meals on their tables due to the pandemic,” said Jilly Stephens, CEO of City Harvest. “At a moment when food insecurity rates continue to be at record highs throughout our city, we are proud to partner with them to bring fresh, nutritious food to thousands of families across the five boroughs.”
During the pandemic, the need for food surged across the city—soaring 41% among all New Yorkers and a shocking 53% among children. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, City Harvest has worked tirelessly to rescue and deliver millions of pounds of food for the growing number of New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables.
Samlyn Capital founder, Rob Pohly, who underwrote all venue-related expenses for the event, said, “I’m thrilled that the Concert to Feed NYC raised enough to help feed New Yorkers in need. It was inspiring to see City Harvest, Nas, DJ Cassidy, members of New York City’s restaurant community, and every day New Yorkers come together to help feed our neighbors in need during this critical time.”
Special thanks to Citi, Diageo, DKNY, Horizon Media, and the Mets for their dedicated support of the Concert to Feed NYC!
Follow the Office of the Queens Borough President via @QnsBPRichards on Twitter and @QueensBPRichards on Facebook and Instagram
About City Harvest
City Harvest is New York’s first and largest food rescue organization, helping to feed millions of New Yorkers who struggle to put meals on their tables. As the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will rescue 111 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food and deliver it—free of charge—to nearly 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, community partners, and our own Mobile Markets across the five boroughs. We work alongside our community partners to boost community capacity, expand nutrition education, and strengthen local food systems. For more than 35 years, City Harvest has always been there to feed our city—one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time. To learn more, please visit cityharvest.org.
Nas (Nasir Jones) first reached an international audience when his track “Halftime” was tapped by producer MC Serch as the opening cut on 1992’s Zebrahead movie soundtrack. Signed to Columbia Records, the first full-length album by poet and rhyme-master Nas arrived in 1994, Illmatic. The RIAA platinum hip-hop landmark featured “It Ain’t Hard To Tell,” “The World Is Yours,” and “One.” 1996 brought the breakthrough double-platinum It Was Written (#1 R&B for 7 weeks, #1 pop for 4 weeks), with his first major crossover singles “Street Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That).” Success continued with the double-platinum I Am in 1999 (again #1 pop and #1 R&B), with the chart singles “Nas Is Like,” “Hate Me Now” (featuring Puff Daddy), and “You Won’t See Me Tonight” (featuring Aaliyah). Subsequent albums by Nas included: the RIAA platinum Nastradamus (1999, #2 R&B, #7 pop, with “Nastradamus” and “You Owe Me,” featuring Ginuwine); the platinum Stillmatic (2001, #1 R&B, #5 pop, with “Got Ur Self A…,” “One Mic,” and “Rule”); the platinum God’s Son (2002, #1 R&B, with huge R&B/pop crossover hits “Made You Look” and “I Can”); and the platinum double-CD Street’s Disciple (2004, #2 R&B, #5 pop, with “Bridging the Gap” and “Just a Moment”). And his 2012 album, Life Is Good earned him 4 Grammy nominations including Rap Album of the Year and is certified RIAA gold.
Over the years, Nas has also been the featured guest on a number of crossover hits by other artists, among them: Allure (“Head Over Heels,” 1997); Missy Elliott (the #1 “Hot Boyz,” 1999); fellow Queensbridge rapper Mobb Deep (“It’s Mine,” 1999); Jagged Edge (“I Got It 2,” 2002); J-Lo (“I’m Gonna Be Alright,” 2002); Kanye West (“Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been),” 2006); DJ Khaled (“Nas Album Done,” 2016); Swizz Beats (“Echo,” 2018); Jhene Aiko (“10K Hours,” 2020) and others.
In August 2020, Nas released King’s Disease. King’s Disease marked Nas’ first new album in 2 years. The album was entirely produced by Hit-Boy, and Gabriel “G Code” Zardes serves as the albums co-executive producer. The album won “Best Rap Album” at the 2021 GRAMMYs, marking Nas’ first ever GRAMMY win.
In addition to his successful career in music, Nas has pursued a career in motion pictures that began with his co-starring role (alongside DMX) in 1998’s cult classic crime drama Belly, a film by director Hype Williams (with whom Nas has done several music videos). Most recently, he was the executive producer of the 2016 Netflix series The Get Down.
Nas is also the co-founder of Mass Appeal Records.
About DJ Cassidy
DJ Cassidy has been at the nexus of music, fashion, and nightlife for over half his living years as the go-to deejay of music impresarios, entertainment moguls, fashion icons, cultural trendsetters, and world leaders. When President Barack Obama wanted a deejay for both of his Inaugurations, his fiftieth birthday party, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s fiftieth birthday party at The White House, there’s only one person he called. When Oprah Winfrey celebrated the opening of her school in South Africa on New Years Eve, there’s only one person she called. When Jennifer Lopez threw parties for her 40th and 50th birthdays, there’s only one person she called. When Jay Z and Beyonce needed a deejay for their wedding, there’s only one person they called. And when Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Usher, and Robin Thicke sought support for their world tours, there’s only one person they called.
DJ Cassidy’s career is the culmination of a lifetime of deejaying around the world, observing people react, and making people move. For his tenth birthday, Cassidy asked his parents for two turntables and a mixer, and DJ Cassidy was born. He played school functions, then friends’ birthdays, then, by age eighteen, the VIP rooms of New York City hotspots. During one late-night set, Cassidy caught the attention of Sean “Puffy” Combs, who, impressed with the youngster’s vast knowledge of music well beyond his years, hired Cassidy to deejay his MTV Video Music Awards bash. Jay Z heard Cassidy soon thereafter and began calling on him for all of his and Beyoncé’s parties. The offers snowballed, with Naomi Campbell, Tommy Hilfiger, Anna Wintour, Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and the hottest brands and nightclubs around the globe all recognizing Cassidy’s unique ability to connect to everyone, everywhere.
Cassidy’s love of music and his appreciation of sounds both classic and cutting-edge date back to age five when he discovered pivotal hip hop records like Run DMC’s “Sucker MC’s” and cult classic dance films like Breakin’. He visited record stores every weekend and studied the back of each vinyl sleeve he came across, learning who wrote and produced his favorite songs. Inspired by Afrika Bambaataa’s, Kool Herc’s, and Grandmaster Flash’s genre-defying style, a young Cassidy made it his motto to play all music, for all people, all over the world. Like his approach to deejaying, Cassidy’s approach to production is unbound by genre and era. His releases as a recording artist and producer have united artists from all sounds under one groove. His single, “Kill The Lights,” featuring Jess Glynne, Alex Newell, and Nile Rodgers scored a number one slot on Billboard’s Dance Club Chart, while “Calling All Hearts,” his single featuring Robin Thicke, Jessie J, Earth Wind & Fire, and NIle Rodgers hit the top five of the UK’s Official Charts.
DJ Cassidy is recognized from miles away, both performing and “resorting” as he coins it, by his signature boater hat, vintage brooches, and 24 karat gold microphone. With equal nods to classic Ivy style, vintage Hip Hop, and bespoke tailoring, Cassidy’s sense of style is truly his own. Cassidy has starred in print, digital, and television campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers, Uniqlo, Sony, Blackberry, and Ciroc, and has produced the music for a global television Target campaign. He tours the world twelve months a year, electrifying party people with an infectious showmanship, a crowd-commanding voice, and a musical palette so broad, he relates to everyone within his reach, uniting dance floors around the globe.
Always an innovator, Cassidy transformed the way we experience music during the 2020 pandemic with his groundbreaking series, Pass The Mic. In effort to celebrate the everyday heroes around the world, DJ Cassidy united his legendary musical heroes, all who sang along to their most iconic records, each one passing the mic from home to home. Cassidy conceived of Pass The Mic while FaceTiming with his friend and mentor, Verdine White of Earth Wind & Fire, amidst the 2020 quarantine. During their call, EWF’s classic, “That’s The Way Of The World,” came on Cassidy’s speakers and Verdine began to casually sing along. Cassidy thought about how fortunate he was to have relationships with so many of his musical heroes and experience their music in their company. He wondered if he could find a way to share that special feeling with others, and at the same time, honor and uplift the everyday heroes around the world. It was this spark that fueled what was to become a groundbreakingly innovative, uplifting, and intimate, virtual sensation. Cassidy was the only artist invited to perform twice at Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ Inauguration, with one Pass The Mic segment on the “Parade Across America” and one Pass The Mic segment on the “Celebrating America” concert. Over forty million people watched live across all television networks as Cassidy passed the mic in celebration of the nation’s everyday heroes. DJ Cassidy then partnered with BET for a series of seven primetime television Pass The Mic specials. The first installment, DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic: Soul Train Edition aired after the 2020 Soul Train Awards; the second, DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic: The BET After Party followed the 52nd NAACP Image Awards, the third, DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic: Mother’s Day Edition aired on May 9th, and the fourth, DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic: BET Awards Edition aired after the 2021 BET Awards, all to overwhelming fanfare, critical acclaim, and millions of live television and online viewers. Cassidy has now passed the mic to over one hundred seventy five legendary artists including Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Nile Rodgers, Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, Sheila E, El Debarge, George Clinton, New Edition, Boyz II Men, Teddy Riley, TLC, SWV, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Salt ‘N Pepa, Naughty By Nature, Missy Elliot, Wyclef Jean, Nelly, Ja Rule, Ashanti, and so many other iconic superstars. By celebrating and uniting his musical heroes, DJ Cassidy has struck an emotional chord in people’s hearts all over the globe. Pass The Mic transports us all back in time to a carefree place where we danced hard, sang loud, and smiled big. It takes us on a shared, yet intimate, musical journey of special moments and personal memories. With Pass The Mic, DJ Cassidy unites our musical heroes in an unprecedented way, connecting them not only to each other, but to all of us, in a glorious, yet personal, celebration of heroes.