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Flint, MI— Flint-based rapper YN Jay, also known as “ The Coochie Man,” held a drive-thru toy giveaway at the former Northwestern High School building Dec. 23.
A second giveaway, which was not initially planned, will take place Dec. 24 at 12 p.m., YN Jay announced on Facebook.
Wednesday’s event drew a line longer than Joe Biden and Barack Obama did during election season as hundreds of cars waited along Carpenter Road, stretching all the way back to Saginaw Street.
YN Jay self-funded the toy drive and purchased more than $10,000 in toys.
Buddy Gates, who works for YN Jay, said he and others made several trips to Walmart on Dec. 22 to pick out items for kids of all ages.
“I had to make multiple trips. Like three trips with five shopping carts each,” Gates said.
But turnout was greater than expected, said YN Jay’s cousin who goes by CBMG (Cash Boy Money Game) Lucho. After seeing the long line, YN Jay sent a friend back to Walmart for more toys.
“It’s great. Some people can’t have Christmas. We want to make sure everybody do have a good Christmas,” Lucho said.
DJ Brandan “B-Ray” Jamison from Club 93.7 also helped to organize and market the event.
YN Jay grew up in Flint and his family lived in poverty, he said. The toy drive is his way of supporting his community.
“This is my city…You’ve got to give back to your own. It’s something that you’re supposed to do. It’s something that felt good,” he said.
Flint resident Edward Fields said he camped outside in his car for an hour and a half before the giveaway started so he could have gifts to give to his grandchildren.
Fields works at a soup kitchen in the area, but the pandemic has left him unemployed for months.
“Whatever they give me is better than what I got,” he said.
Flint mom and college student Skyler Johnson said she and her six-year-old daughter Cherish Moore have been “surviving.”
“My daughter, she loves Barbie dolls. We always just watching YouTube and watching people play with Barbie dolls. And we want to do it someday [like] the YouTubers,” Johnson said.
Cherish held her new Barbie doll, a soccer player, while she and her mom posed with YN Jay for a photo.
Johnson also said she’s a big fan of Coochie Man and, in addition to getting a Barbie for her daughter, she came out to “twerk.”
Though Flint’s last pop-up celebration of Coochie Man in July ended in violence and multiple shootings, this one has sparked Christmas cheer.
YN Jay said he’s been in Miami working on his new album entitled “Ninja Warrior,” which will drop in the next few days.