Philanthropy in Miami: ILoveMakonnen and Dr. Lee Gause’s Smile Design Gallery
Helmed by NYC's Dr. Lee Gause, Smile Design Gallery can be considered a fledgling charity, having only begun operations two to three years ago. With a famous clientele, Gause asked his clients—folks like ILoveMakonnen, Ty Hunter and Swizz Beats—to help him embark on the project. Smile Design Gallery's mission is to provide a service for the less fortunate by matching 100% of the value of the work that they sell with affordable dental care. Thus far, SDG's organic movement has provided $400,000 in free dental care for a school in Camden, the Bowery Mission in New York, Our Children, a school in Haiti, and more. Dr. Gause spoke a bit more on the celebrity backing the charity receives and why the work that SDG is doing is so significant,
I think a lot of celebrities, by the time they reach celebrity, they can afford anything. Makonnen paid me for his dental work and for his family's dental work, but I think he and folks like Robert Glasper, can identify with moments of their life when they didn't have dental insurance. New York is a reflection of the country and the people that make New York what it is in fashion, in music, in art, and in startups don't have dental insurance. So, that means 80% of America does not have dental insurance, so we just want to do our small part and make a statement.
In attendance was trap troubadour ILoveMakonnen after his dizzying and energy filled performance. It wasn't your typical interview. Makonnen took some time to speak on the importance of Art Basel Miami in addition to the importance of not taking life itself for granted. "Miami, It's been good. The weather's been a little crazy, but that's why I made sure to bring out my rain jacket," he remarked while gesturing towards his poncho with a color scheme comprised of various Miami hues that blended into each other. "Other than that, it's been cool. I've gotten the chance to see a lot of great artists out here, so many people I'm humbled by. I'm just really glad to be here." Fresh off of the release of his ILovemakonnen2 EP, he touched on life on the road, "It's been good and it's been exhausting. I definitely have to take some time to control my body since I've been going through a lot, so fast. I just wanna keep pacing myself so I don't end up burning out. Traveling around the world has also been good to me. I've been meeting some great people, but still doing music. With the EP out now, we're gonna work on some videos. Other than that, I'm just trying to live and enjoy life. Everybody out here is trying to be seen, everybody's trying to stunt on somebody, I'm just out here trying to enjoy life." His love for life has always radiated from his music, and when I mention that it's a vibe that has always been prevalent with his music he explodes with joy when I mention one of the sites that supported him since day one, "Shouts to ILPVideo! Make sure Complex puts that in there!"
Images: Gregston Hurdle & Carlos Morgado