Ginuwine: Spotlights mental illness

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Singing, song-writing, dancing and acting is what R&B star Ginuwine is best known for.

“I’m staying in the music game by doing shows. You know you are not as busy or hot as you were when you first came out. I’ve been doing records and trying to find my way in the world,” said Ginuwine, 41 who splits his down time between Atlanta and Maryland.

Recently, Ginuwine added philanthropist to his resume.

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GINUWINE

He and his wife, rapper Sole, are using their celebrity status to help the less fortunate. The power couple partnered with the Special People Requiring Unique Care Equality, a Kansas City-based assisted living resource to help provide a better quality of life to people with mental or physical challenges.

“About three years ago, my wife and I went to Kansas City and we were blown away by one of her friends who helps mentally challenged adults and kids. We noticed that people didn’t notice them or forgot about them and we wanted to help change that,” said Ginuwine, whose given name is Elgin Lumpkin.

The singer owns four homes in the Kansas City area where S.P.R.U.C.E participants are housed and cared for.

Services include providing individualized personal attention to each person as well as basic education, job skills and cultural enlightenment opportunities.

“We take them to the doctor, the grocery store, and we do fun things with them, like bowling,” he said.

When he isn’t working with S.P.R.U.C.E., Ginuwine can be found in the studio laying down tracks for his next musical project.

Ginuwine burst onto the music scene in 1996 with “Ginuwine…The Bachelor” which spawned the dance hit, “Pony” and was certified double platinum. Three years later he released “100 Percent Ginuwine” that had the hits “Same Ol’ G.” 2001’s “The Life” sold over one million copies and spawned the Billboard Top 100 hit, “Differences.” Two years later, Ginuwine released his fifth studio album, “The Senior,” which had the singles “Stingy” and “In Those Jeans.”

Follow up albums “Back II da Basics” “Greatest Hits,” and “A Man’s Thoughts” failed to make the splash that Ginuwine’s previous records did.

However, the charismatic singer will be dropping a new CD at the end of this year.

“We are constantly in the studio. This will be my eighth studio album. I’ve been in the music business for 16 years and I can’t just put out anything. I’m experimenting with the old school and new school,” he said.

In addition, he is working on a project with sultry R& B crooners Tank and Tyrese.

“All of us have wanted to be in a group together for a while and we weren’t able to get things together. But we are working on it and should be releasing something soon,” he said.

The charismatic singer stopped by the Homewood Coliseum May 12 to perform and host a concert alongside powerhouse vocal group Silk to raise funds for the Women’s Walk for Peace.

The fifth annual Women’s Walk for A Peaceful Community consists of a two-mile walk that begins on North Charles Street in Pittsburgh and ends near the Aviary. The event will take place this October.

“We have been doing concerts for the past five years to raise money for the Women’s Walk for Peace. All the money from the concerts goes to that,” said Ronell Guy-Curtis, executive director of the North Side Coalition for Fair Housing, who sponsored the concert along with Savoy Restaurant.

Clad in a white short-sleeved shirt and pants, Ginuwine took screaming fans on a short jaunt through his music career with hits “Pony,” “So Anxious” and “In Those Jeans.”

He was very comfortable and confident on the stage.

“Music is what I love to do. When I was a kid I wanted to be on stage. Being on stage I feel like nothing can bother me there. I feel like I’m on top of the world there,” he said. “I am a singer and entertainer and I know I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the fans. I really appreciate those fans.”

When Ginuwine isn’t performing, he enjoys lying on the couch watching boxing, basketball and football.

“I have a wife and kids. All the big head stuff and partying is out the window,” Ginuwine said.

For more information on the Women’s Walk for A Peaceful Community visit http://www.womenswalk.org or call 412-321-5527.

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