How Swizz Beatz & A Brush With Death Inspired Entertainment Lawyer Doug Davis to Give Back

Christopher Patey
Swizz Beatz and Doug Davis photographed on Oct. 7 at Caulfield’s in Los Angeles.

Billboard’s Philanthropy Issue: Inside How the Music Industry Gives Back

In 2007, entertainment and sports attorney Doug Davis was undergoing an emergency appendectomy when doctors found a malignant tumor that, if left untreated, would have claimed his life within two years. “I realized how lucky I was to be here and how my life could have been over immediately,” says Davis today, “and that I needed to support cancer organizations I relied on to get better.”

Now 44, Davis not only beat cancer but stayed true to his word. In the years since, the New York-based lawyer and entrepreneur — and son of industry icon Clive Davis — joined the boards of the Music for Youth Foundation, F— Cancer and the City of Hope National Medical Center. For City of Hope, he helped raise more than $3 million for cancer research at the Songs of Hope event in Los Angeles in September. “Giving back was instilled in me throughout my life,” he says. “Specifically by my father.”

Given the relationships he has forged as head of The Davis Firm (Lil Jon, Apple executive Larry Jackson), it’s no surprise he should use his position to build bridges between the artists he works with and the charities he supports. Swizz Beatz, whom Davis has repped for the past decade, is a case in point. “He was an inspiration to increase my philanthropy,” says Davis. “And he’s been a partner with me on that for the past 10 years.”

“It’s important to be in a position to be able to give back, because somebody had to give to put you in your position,” says Beatz, 38, who throws an annual fundraiser for the Bronx Charter School for the Arts and helps fight HIV/AIDS in Africa through the Keep a Child Alive charity, co-founded by his wife, Alicia Keys.

At home, Beatz and Keys are passing the baton to their 5-year-old son, Egypt, who produced (yes, really) a song on Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-nominated To Pimp a Butterfly and donated all proceeds to children in need in Compton. “He was blessed to have an opportunity,” says Beatz. “Now, he has an opportunity to bless other people to have an opportunity.”

To support cancer research and the City of Hope National Medical Center, go to cityofhope.org/giving

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 5 issue of Billboard.