Rain or shine, a Haverhill shelter was there for young Suriel and his family when they needed it most. Now, in the midst of an approaching hurricane, the Lynn rapper is determined to return the favor.
Suriel has launched a fundraiser for Emmaus, an organization that provides emergency shelter, affordable housing, and other supportive services that prevent homelessness. The online campaign — which is live now — coincides with the non-profit’s 35th annual Cycle for Shelter benefit, which takes places this Sunday (September 17). Suriel is scheduled to speak at the event, but before he’s handed the mic, he’s hoping the fundraiser with his label Gold Luck Records can independently boost support for Emmaus, which helped ensure in his family’s safety and well-being for a portion of his childhood.
“As someone who lived in a shelter home when I was younger it means so much to be able to give back to the program that allowed my family to find a secure home,” Suriel shares on Instagram. “The time I spent in the shelter home really helped me become the person I am today. It gave me drive to be more than what my environment and situation told me I could be.”
The same message springs to life in his recent video for “Heaven Knows,” which depicts Suriel pulling up in front of his former shelter home in a new Audi. “Used to get donations for the clothes / Now designer on my toes,” he raps on the chorus, surrounded by lyrics about empty stomachs and nights spent sleeping on the floor. It’s less of a rags-to-riches boast and more of a grounded message of encouragement for anyone who’s walked in the same secondhand shoes.
“I hope to serve as an inspiration to kids in similar situations so that they can realize that no matter what you come from or what you’re going through you can be whoever or whatever you want to be,” Suriel concluded in the same post.
Chip in here, and watch Suriel retrace his story back to Emmaus in “Heaven Knows” below.