One of Afrobeat’s biggest stars has accidentally become one of Nigeria’s biggest philanthropists. His greatest charitable giving started out first as a prank but later turned into a crowdfunding opportunity that possibly changed the lives of thousands of children in Africa.
Singer Davido, whose real name is David Adeleke, turned 29 years old on Nov. 21, 2021.
According to Forbes, one year shy of completing his third decade, the artist has done extremely well for himself as an entertainer and a producer. His talents have helped him rank as the second-richest musician in Nigeria.
Despite how wealthy he is, in an interview with fellow African Trevor Noah, the Ede superstar explained how for this birthday he asked his 24.4 million followers on Instagram to send money to his Venmo as a gag.
Within minutes, the “Fall” chart-topper said his supporters flooded his account with tens of thousands of dollars.
“I started calling famous people…I was like c’mon you know I made a hit song for you last year,” the artist said.
Famous people who donated were BB Naija’s Nengi, Perruzi, Teni, Adekunle Gold, Mr. Eazi, Zlatan, Cubana Chief Priest, Chike, Oyo State House of Representatives member Akin Alabi, businessman and socialite Emeka Okonkwo, aka E-money, and Obinna Iyiegbu aka Obi Cubana, the Guardian revealed.
Davido, who is in Los Angeles for this year’s BET Awards happening June 26, relayed the story to Noah.
“I was like everybody that I have helped in one way or the other, that’s why this tour is called we rise by lifting others. I was scared it came up to $600,000 and at this point, I’m like can I keep this?”
His initial thoughts were to use the money to splurge on himself, thinking he is always doing for others, and this might be a time for him to be blessed.
He then thought, according to the interview, it would be a quick answer to a problem he had been struggling with. He desperately needed to “rescue” his new Rolls-Royce, but the import fees and taxes were just as much as the vehicle. Using the money, gifted to him by his fans, would eliminate the half a million debt he might have to pull from his $19 million fortune, amassed from music, concerts, investments, and enforcements.
As enticing as it seemed, the star consulted with his father, billionaire Adedeji Adeleke, and they decided it would not be of good integrity to use the money that he never truly expected the fans to give him, for something as self-serving as a luxury car. Instead, he and his team decided to donate the money to orphanages across his native country, Nigeria.
“We know that so much is going on around the world and I was like I can’t be that insensitive and I spoke to my dad who is my mentor and he said, ‘You know you can’t keep that money.’ A lot of people were like ‘No, keep it; you’ve done so much for the community.’”
Giving to others, for Adeleke, is a part of life.
Days before his son’s birthday, on Nov. 21, 2021, he gave a dowry to his new in-laws, sources reported. The CEO of Pacific Holdings Limited gave three big bags of money to his new family during the family’s first meeting. This introduction ceremony is a ritual in Yorubaland, the area of Nigeria where the family is from.
He said, “We decided to donate all $600,000 to orphanages around Nigeria.”
“I woke up the next day, reflecting on my whole life and how God has blessed me. So, we decided to donate all $600,000 to orphanages across the country. Just for accountability, it took months to disburse because we had to know which orphanage is real,” he told the Comedy Central staple.
Months after his birthday, and even after acquiring two additional sports cars, he had not distributed the money. Fans started to question “why?”
“Then I started getting tweets like ‘this dude kept the money.’ Because after that, I bought two more cars. I bought a Lamborghini … that was just my money, though.”
Davido explained, “After two months, I did a spreadsheet. I had to show accountability [for everything], all or every wire, everywhere the money that we spent went.”
Legit.ng reports that within a week of raising the money, the musician announced a five-member committee that would be responsible for the distribution of the monies to the chosen government-approved beneficiaries.
Thinking back on the radical gift to parentless children, Davido confessed, “I’m happy that in my lifetime I got to do that.”
He will continue to give back, particularly with his North American tour, “We Rise By Lifting Others,” where he is introducing other African creatives to a new market.