AceShowbiz - Rapper Nicki Minaj is donating $25,000 (£19,300) to help out former The Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens after he was spotted working at a New Jersey grocery store.
A customer at Trader Joe's was surprised to notice the 57-year-old actor bagging groceries last month, and shared her shock at his new career path in a post on social media, alongside a photo of Owens at the cash register.
The image by shopper Karma Lawrence went viral as others weighed in on the news, but the online shaming prompted an outpouring of support from Owens' fellow actors, who revealed the various odd jobs they had taken on over the years to help make ends meet.
Nicki was among the celebrities outraged by the original customer's decision to post the picture online, and earlier this week, begs September 03, she took to Instagram to vent about the way Owens had been treated by "toxic & disgusting" social media users, while also applauding filmmaker Tyler Perry for offering the ageing actor a job on his new TV project.
"This man is a whole LEGEND in these streets!!!! Major part of our child hood!!!!" she added.
On Thursday, September 06, Nicki continued to share her disgust at the public shaming Owens had endured as a result of the online post, before announcing her plans to send him a cheque to ease his financial situation.
"They took a picture of Geoffrey Owens and put this motherf**king man on the motherf**king Internet while he was bagging up some f**king groceries to feed his motherf**king family...," she raged on her Queen Radio show.
"That man is now getting so many opportunities," Nicki commented. "I personally wanna donate, on behalf of Queen Radio, $25,000 to Geoffrey Owens today. You know why? Let me tell you something: this man is a whole f**king legend on these streets, and what Karma and her b**ch did is f**king stupid... for that bulls**t... You wanna try to embarrass this hard-working man (sic)."
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WHO GOD BLESS NO MAN CAN CURSE!!!!!!!!!! When will y’all realize that you only curse YOURSELF when you try to humiliate & hurt people?!?!!! I wish I had a show, I’d do the same thing! But praise be to GOD that Mr. Tyler Perry & Queen OPRAH DOES have a show! A FEW SHOWS!!!!! 🙏🏽 the internet is so toxic & disgusting!!! This man is a whole LEGEND in these streets!!!! Major part of our child hood!!!! Barbz, find the person who took this pic & uploaded it to the internet. I just wanna talk. They don’t want us working in between our acting jobs, they want us on drugs & doing home invasions on THEIR HOMES!!!!!!! That’s when they’ll be SATISFIED!!!! This man minds his own business!!!! He’s not on the internet being messy & seeking attention. Someone GOT PAID for this photo!!!! I can’t wait for #QueenRadio this week. I’m giving #GeoffreyOwens a small token of our appreciation. We will NOT treat our own like this for a cpl of fucking laughs & memes! I CURSE everyone responsible. You JUST WATCH!!!!!
Owens even appeared on breakfast show Good Morning America on Tuesday to address the viral image, admitting he initially felt "devastation" and "shame" over the negative press, although that has since turned to pride by the way his peers have responded.
"It came out of nowhere," he said. "I really want to thank everybody out there for the incredible support... that they've shown for me. It's quite astounding."