Since her prison release in 2014, Remy Ma has spent the last three years working tirelessly to make up for lost time. Thanks to the success of her 2016 summer hit “All The Way Up” -- a collaboration with her Plato o Plomo collaborator Fat Joe -- the Bronx femcee notched two Grammy Award nominations and a 2017 BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist (ending Nicki Minaj’s seven-year winning streak).
While she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon (“There’s so much that I want to do, so much that I want to say and so many different platforms that I want to use my ‘celebrity’ status to try and make a change’”), Remy Ma is delving into a new territory and adding another hyphen to her resume: philanthropist.
Widely known for her boisterous rhymes and tough, unapologetic attitude, the world saw Remy Ma at her most vulnerable during an episode of Love and Hip Hop: New York aired earlier this year that saw Remy and her husband, Papoose, coping with the heart-rending news of her ectopic pregnancy. “As a woman, you start to think, ‘What did I do wrong?, What could I have done to prevent it?,’” she told Billboard over the phone. Riddled with loneliness and disappointment, Remy says it was her husband who encouraged her to reveal their experience “for the people who went through this too and felt like they’re the only ones in the world.”
After consulting her doctor about alternative conception methods and learning about the costly procedures made available, Remy said she “didn’t even think twice” about pursuing but later realized that lack of information and financial resources are the main reasons many other women can’t seek fertility treatment. “Women would talk to me about how they wish they could go through with the procedure but they can’t afford it and I thought that was crazy because medical insurance or even a couple of hundred dollars can help you get rid of a child but to bring life into this world costs thousands of dollars,” the rapper says. “That could’ve been the Remy who didn’t meet [Big Pun] and who got a regular job and wanted to have kids. It’s wrong and it’s unfair.”
“Being a woman is hard. I think God is using me to see things I wouldn’t have normally seen before,” she continues. “It’s bigger than rap now. I sat in prison thinking about how I would return to music, but I also made promises to God that I’m not going to be selfish. Now I want to use whatever resources I have to make a change.”
Fueled by the lack of support and funds by “politicians who claim their pro-life,” Remy Ma recently unveiled her plans to start a women’s fund to help cover the costs of fertility treatments. “The backbone of the family is the woman -- the mother or the grandmother -- and when you take those same womanly qualities and apply them to something that’s going to benefit us as a people, it’s amazing," she says. "I know the power of women when we come together as one.”
While still in its nascent stage, the “All The Way Up” rapper is meticulously combing through the fine details and says her main mission is to give people hope. “I want to help people who feel like they’ll never feel happy because doctors told them ‘You can conceive but we need $15,000 or $20,000’ -- I just want to make people happy.”
When asked where her sense of philanthropy stems from, Remy reflects on her upbringing in the Bronx, New York, from her adolescent years -- where she says she’s “been through it all” -- to her time away locked behind bars. “I had parents that were on drugs, I’ve been homeless, I’ve lost children, I’ve been to prison -- it’s easy for me to place myself in the shoes of people who are going through trials and tribulations, because nine times out of ten, I went through it,” she explains. “When I was bouncing from house to house, how I wished someone said here’s a job, or it’s wintertime here’s coat or even when I was going through my issues with the baby, someone who would say ‘I’ve been through that, it’s not that bad’, even when I felt like the world was over.”
“[Back then] I knew what I wanted and what I wish I had access to,” Remy adds. “So if I can provide that for people now and stop them from feeling the way I felt, I’m 100% for it. I want to give women that joy.”