Record Producer Brings Thanksgiving to Va Beach Apartment Community Where He Grew Up
Virginia Beach, Virginia – Acclaimed music industry executive Floyd “Danja” Hills knows what it is like to wonder if there will be a turkey on the table at Thanksgiving. But on November 17, he and fellow N.A.R.S. Records colleagues Tommy “King-T” Eaton made sure that over 100 of their former neighbors at Virginia Beach’s Friendship Village Apartments will have enough food for a hearty holiday meal.
Danja, two-time Grammy award winner and owner of N.A.R.S. Records/DanjaHandsz Productions, grew up at Friendship Village in the 1980’s and has since risen to fame in the music world by working with such artists as Timbaland, Britney Spears, Kanye West, and Justin Timberlake. Eaton, who heads up marketing and promotions for the label, also lived at Friendship Village in his youth. According to Eaton, Danja and he were concerned about families trying to make ends meet during these difficult economic times and wanted to make a positive difference in the community they once called home. “We decided we wanted to help make this a really happy Thanksgiving for some people by giving them plenty of delicious and healthy food to eat such as turkey, stuffing, yams, collard greens, cranberry sauce, and rolls,” explained Eaton. “It’s just our way of giving something back.”
The morning began with representatives from N.A.R.S. Records and CHP employees from across the area unloading a truck full of food into Friendship Village's community center, which was soon overflowing with groceries ready to be organized and packed. Thanks to the expertise of CHP's resident services staff, who distribute USDA food packages to residents every month, the crew was easily organized and put to work sorting and packing food for each household. All told, it look nearly four hours to assemble the 109 boxes but the work was "fun and full of camaraderie," said AmeriCorps VISTA member Dayspring Cabaniss.
The excitement only grew when Danja later arrived at Friendship Village in a Lamborghini and drove through the neighborhood greeting residents. But the record producer did not arrive alone; he brought nearly a dozen other N.A.R.S Records team members, including staff and performing artists such as Luke James and Wyld (a.k.a. Wyld Money), who were eager to help as well.
After Danja and his entourage finished delievering food to the community's families, they made it a point to stick around until the children arrived home from school so that they could visit with their young fans. When the young residents made their way to the community center the N.A.R.S. Records team delighted them with a DJ, autographs, and free CDs and sweatshirts. The music industry luminaries also took pictures with the eager crowd and spoke to the children about following their dreams and staying out of trouble. Danja and Eaton even socialized with several families they remembered from their time living at Friendship Village. One grateful resident called the day “a blessing” in this challenging economic climate and said it was an event she would never forget.
Owned and managed by Community Housing Partners (CHP), the 109-unit Friendship Village in Virginia Beach is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 multi-family property rented to low-income households.
“We are so grateful for everything Danja and his colleagues are doing to support our community at Thanksgiving,” said CHP Senior Regional Resident Services Coordinator Tiffany Little. Added Property Manager Denise Jernigan, “Because of the time and resources donated by N.A.R.S. Records, many individuals and families will be able to comfortably celebrate the holiday this year. It is especially meaningful because Danja and King-T were once Friendship residents themselves. In a way, they are like family.”
About Friendship Village:
Originally purchased and renovated by Community Housing Partners (CHP) in 1992, Friendship Village underwent an extensive rehabilitation in 2011 with the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and other public and private funding sources. Friendship Village also has the distinction of being named a Certified Neighborhood Networks Center by HUD for providing a high level of free resident services that promote self-sufficiency, skill-building, and healthy living. Programs include adult job-training classes, educational after-school activities and mentoring programs for youth, and computer literacy programs for seniors.