Hip-Hop

Weed Smokers and Rappers Help Provide Much Needed IDs to Phoenix Homeless

Tammy Broselaw (left) and her husband set up at the Beat Therapy 2k concert in late July.
Tammy Broselaw (left) and her husband set up at the Beat Therapy 2k concert in late July. Mike Madriaga
Last week, dozens of Valley hip-hop heads drove 150 miles to Flagstaff to smoke weed in "The Pines" with their favorite rap stars, Twista, MIMS, Lil' Flip, and others, at the Beat Therapy 2k concert. The music fest benefited the homeless community in Phoenix.

"We are receiving a percentage of the funds from this event to help the unsheltered people in metro Phoenix," said Tammy Broselaw, co-founder of the nonprofit organization Tom's Palms. "VhopNation put on the event." The two entities, although separate, collaborate on giveback events in the Valley.

On Friday, July 29, despite the flood and monsoon warnings blaring from cellphones throughout the morning and afternoon, Broselaw and her fellow metro Phoenicians braved the inclement weather and drove northbound on Interstate 17.

Tempe rapper Sour D, the Jefro's Botanicals crew, Phoenix rapper Dudda2Kutta, and Ladiebug Haviland, as well as folks from Veterans For Healing, Axis Studios, The Higher Cactus, and OMG Goudness, formed caravans.

Phoenix New Times followed the groups and ascended to 7,000 feet above sea level in the rain. Finally, at about 5 p.m., the rain eased as we pulled into Fort Tuthill County Park in the middle of thousands of pine trees. Performances took place at the Pepsi Amphitheater in the park.

Broselaw and her husband set up a tent and spoke with the concertgoers and New Times.

"Those funds will be used for our ID program back in Phoenix," Broselaw explained. "We can now obtain IDs for those without an address."

Broselaw, Tom's Palms' vice president Sheena Williams, and the 501(c)(3) organization's volunteers locate people living on the street and help them with water, food, and IDs. "Their eyes get big when we tell them we can get them IDs," Broselaw explained. "Without an ID, there's not anything you can get help with or do. You can't get your IRS check, and you can't go get a check or cash anywhere."

Check cashing services require customers to show a state or federal identification card with a photo.

Broselaw continued, "You can't get a job because you can't prove who you are. You can't get an apartment because you don't have an ID. You can't get health insurance, even with the state, if you don't have an ID. You can't get a food card without an ID."
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Lil' Flip performing "Game Over."
Mike Madriaga
The nonprofit initially provides signed vouchers to folks living in Phoenix's streets, alleys, and parks. "Then they take that paper to GG&D," she explained. "The office is on 43rd Avenue and Glendale, and that's where they get their IDs."

GG&D is a founding member of the 3rd Party Motor Vehicle Association in the Valley, offering vehicle title transfers, motor vehicle registration, duplicate titles, temporary permits, notary services and other Arizona MVD services — including ID cards.

Broselaw continued, "We pay the GG&D $27.50 per ID. Then we ask if (the new ID recipient) has a job. If they want a job, we offer them companies that will hire them with their new IDs."

Recently, Broselaw's organization set up jobs for five people living on the street. "Because they all [now] have IDs," she added. "And they all still work there."

Last year, Tom's Palms, named after Broselaw's and Williams' fathers, served more than 6,000 meals and provided toiletries and clothes to those in need. Recently, the organization received a large donation of Delta Air Lines goodie bags, which are designed "for first-class flyers," Broselaw said. "Each had a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, ChapStick and a pair of socks. People love those."

Dispensaries also kick down cannabis-related products to the nonprofit to hand out for free.

"That's another reason why we are here, to let people know what we do," Broselaw said.
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MIMS brings a fan up on stage.
Mike Madriaga
Like many of the attendees, Broselaw and Williams smoked weed at the event. Broselaw smoked to soothe her back and leg pains, especially after the temperature dropped to below 70 degrees that night. "I was in a wheelchair for a while," she said. "Then, after I got into the Phoenix cannabis community, that changed everything. I don't take pain meds anymore and don't need the wheelchair."

Tempe rapper Sour D was one of the first performers on the stage that late afternoon. Then, later that night, she watched rapper Twista perform. "He still goes off," she said of the artist's quick style. He can rap almost 600 syllables a minute. "It was nostalgic; I grew up watching him."

Williams also connected with Twista after he performed his 2004 "Slow Jamz" cut, a Grammy-Award nominated song that featured Kanye West and Jamie Foxx. "I gave him a hug and our Tom's Palms business card," she said. 

Williams then linked with Lil' Flip, a Houston rapper who performed "Game Over" on stage with a joint in hand. "We had a sesh: I had my blunt, and Lil' Flip had the pre-roll I gave him," she said.

Afterward, MIMS performed "‎This Is Why I'm Hot."

Skatterman, Big Omeezy, Acer Vantes and Mr. Stinky the Vigilante also performed on stage, while FreezTV420 took videos and photos.

"The event was an intimate experience for the fans," Williams continued. "There were about 78 people in the crowd, but that doesn't include the people vending and their guests." Williams blames the low attendance on the Wireless Emergency Alerts about the flood warnings in Flagstaff earlier and the newscasts showing running flood water — which was in a different part of Flagstaff. "After I saw all of the warnings, I asked myself, 'Should I go or not?' A few times. I'm so glad I drove up there."
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