A Paso Robles nonprofit distributes donated toys to kids in need in North County for Christmas but one local musician said the organization won’t accept his help, despite the need, because he’s a rap artist.
Paso Toy Bank provides toys to an average of 1,300 kids each year, according to Paso Toy Bank Fundraising Director Bill Pluma.
“One year we had over 600 families, this year we have 443 families,” Pluma said.
The Paso Toy Bank relies on donations from local businesses and individuals, but this year, a loss of some regular donors and the cancellation of a car show fundraiser put the nonprofit in a bind.
Nate Rowley, who goes by the name Nate Nastyyyy when he performs, said he answered the call for help but got put on the naughty list anyway.
“I feel like the way everything was executed was just wrong,” Rowley said.
Rowley said he contacted Pluma in November with the idea to have a concert where the entrance fee is paid in toys.
The concert, which will feature other local rap artists, is set for Friday at Manny’s Pizza in Paso Robles.
“We want to help the community by doing what we all do, rapping and putting on shows,” Rowley said.
Pluma initially approved, but then cut ties when he learned the rap music contained explicit lyrics.
“We’re honored he wanted to help the Toy Bank but he was asked if he used four letter words and he said yes,” Pluma said, referring to expletives.
Rowley acknowledges that his music contains expletive lyrics but said it’s part of his creative expression.
Pluma said his organization would gladly accept the toys so long as the Paso Toy Bank is not included in any concert branding. But Rowley said he and the other musicians collecting toys for kids deserve some credit for their efforts.
“For us to be proud of what we’re doing but you want to hide behind a closed door and still receive everything we worked so hard to grab, that doesn’t make sense to me,” Rowley said.
Because the Paso Toy Drive is in constant need of toys and collects donations year-round, Pluma said he’d be willing to re-open discussions with Rowley to see if they can meet in the middle in a way that satisfies both parties.
Rowley said regardless of whether the concert benefits Paso Toy Bank specifically, the donated toys will go back to kids in the community.
Anyone interested in donating to the Paso Toy Bank can contact 805-423-1272.