Busta Rhymes may be known for his lively stage persona, but the Flipmode Squad leader has put his energy towards a different cause by supporting former Universal/Motown Records music executive Shanti Das’ efforts to bury unclaimed deceased residents of Detroit.
Rhymes, along with R&B hitmaker Akon, were among the artists who helped Das raise more than $20,000 for May We Rest in Peace, a recently launched initiative designed to aid those who cannot afford to properly lay their loved ones to rest.
To date, the nonprofit organization has been able to cover 20 burials in Detroit in its first two months of existence.
May We Rest in Peace resulted from Das’ desire to help the city of Detroit after reading a CNN Money story about the location’s struggle to handle it’s growing number of unclaimed bodies.
The story, which came out in October, highlighted Detroit’s economic hardship as it noted the increasing number of unclaimed bodies piling up in the city’s morgue freezer, some of whom have been dead for up to five years.
Realizing the financial challenge for loved ones as well as her own experience of paying to bury deceased family members, Das launched May We Rest in October.
While she is not from Detroit, the music executive found a common thread with which to create her organization.
“What if it was my mother, father, or loved one lying there in the morgue and I couldn’t afford to properly lay them to rest?” Das explained. “There were just a lot of things that hit home for me, and I just wanted to immediately take action.”
Within weeks of starting May We Rest, Das provided burials for six of Detroit’s unclaimed deceased amid raising $6,000 via early support from family, friends and loved ones as well as donors such as Rhymes, Akon and the Kid Rock Foundation in the name of Detroit Clothing Company.
The support of the entertainers and the community has impacted the number of unburied bodies in Detroit, which is now down to 50.