Jhené Aiko continues to give back and provide encouragement for creative growth. The Christmas, the songstress brought some extraordinary joy to a family in need, with the launching of her WAYS Foundation.
In honor of her late brother, Miyagi — who passed away from cancer at an early age — Aiko created the foundation to instill hope into the lives of those who desperately need help. On Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), Aiko made her first donation to five-year-old Lily Olive of Eagle Rock, CA. She visited the young girl at her home and made a surprise donation of $15,000 to cover her medical bills. Olive is currently battling leukemia after finding out her diagnosis during Thanksgiving break.
“This Christmas, I decided to gift my family with the ‘WAYS Foundation,’ something my family and I have had in the works since the passing of my brother,” Aiko tells Billboard. “I decided to make a donation on my family’s behalf in which we plan to continue to help people and families affected by cancer.”
WAYS derives from the acronym “Why aren’t you smiling,” which was coined by Miyagi during his bout with cancer. He tweeted the phrase during his diagnosis and treatment to spark humor and joy despite his painful situation. Miyagi also served as the focal point for Aiko’s most recent album, Trip.
Take a look at some of the photos from Jhene’s trip below.
(Photos by Amanda Cases/Getty Images for W.A.Y.S. Foundation)
This Christmas, I decided to gift my family with the “WAYS Foundation” in memoriam of my brother, Miyagi. Instead of the traditional gift exchange, I decided to make a donation on my family’s behalf to a beautiful 5 year old girl named Lily Olive Cosby and her family. Lily’s story touched me and my families hearts and she made our Christmas the best one yet ?? #WAYSFoundation @ways_foundation
thank you @bravegowns for all that you do and for introducing us to this amazing family! you are a real life angel ??❤️ and thank you to the Cosby Family for welcoming my family into their home. and thank you to my beautiful siblings, parents and daughter for having the biggest hearts and teaching me and everyone they encounter, compassion. I love you guys ❤️ With our newly launched WAYS Foundation, we will continue this Christmas tradition of donating to a family in need, as well as give back in numerous ways throughout the years to come in an effort to help bring hope, comfort, compassion and financial assistance to those affected by cancer. #WhyArentYouSmiling #WAYS #WAYSFoundation @ways_foundation