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Filmmaker gives away turkeys in Watts

WATTS — Thanksgiving arrived a couple of days early for 200 local residents.

Thanks to the charitable heart and philanthropic acts of filmmaker Cheyenne Martin, 200 free turkeys were distributed to local residents with a holiday smile and good cheer from some noted celebrities Nov. 18.

The Cheyenne Martin Foundation third annual Turkey Drive in Watts, which took place at the 109th Street Recreation Center, saw singer and actor Christopher Williams (“New Jack City,” “I’m Dreamin’”) and rapper CL Smooth (Pete Rock & CL Smooth) drop by and take part in the festivities.

“This community center is a neutral zone between some interesting housing developments — Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens. I’m taking part because Cheyenne [Martin] is a friend,” Williams said. “The way this world is now, to see these things go on, small or big, it’s a good thing because it let’s people know that other people do care. Status has nothing to do with anything. It’s always good to put my hands to the plow for other people.”

Williams, who will be performing this weekend at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario with Teddy Riley, Blackstreet, Dave Hollister and Kool Moe Dee, said despite the divisions running rampant throughout the country, the turkey giveaway event is indicative of the fact that there is still plenty of goodwill going around.

“This just means that love still abounds,” Williams said. “It still rules. We’ve got a lot of crazy stuff going on, and it’s getting worse, especially in between the color lines.

“As a black man, it’s really alarming. There’s a part of us that have compassion, we’re emotional men but there’s a fear there that says we’re not going back there. Try to get and pray every day and try to do something to make things better. Like Michael Jackson said, you just got to start with the person in the mirror.”

Besides the turkey giveaways, the Cheyenne Martin Foundation also held a drawing and gave away a 43-inch television set and presented community members with gift bags that included side dishes and dessert to go along with their turkeys.

Martin took money out of her own pocket to donate the turkeys being handed out. She said giving back is something she has always done.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Martin said. “It’s my third one. So, I’m super excited. To see the smiles on the kids’ faces and their parents, they’re holding up their turkeys and going home. Turkey is the most important part of the Thanksgiving dinner. I’m super excited.”

CL Smooth thinks the gesture to assist individuals and families that are oftentimes neglected is important.

“It’s beautiful because we’re giving back to a community that is in need of love and support,” he said. “That’s what you want to do. You want to use notoriety and your likeness to give back to the people who raised you.”

STIX, a buffer in the neighborhood, grew up in the community. He has the pulse of what’s going down, good or bad. The vibe handed out was all about tranquility and love, he said.

“[We’re] giving out turkeys, handing out nothing but love, peace, affection and turkeys to the whole community,” STIX said. “It’s a great cause. We handed out 200 turkeys. Nobody had to pay for nothing. All they had to do was show up and pick up their food.

“Cheyenne paid everything out of pocket, out of the kindness of her heart. No donations. No sponsors. But we weren’t really for it like that. We just wanted to do something out of the kindness of our hearts. Cheyenne said, ‘I’m going to dig in my own pocket and make it happen.’”

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