For the Culture: Florida rappers are helping Tampa Bay family-owned businesses, feeding hundreds

For The Culture

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Florida rappers partnered with a local restaurant and fed close to 200 people in the community for free.

Mike and Rondo Smiff teamed up with Auntie’s Soul Food Saturday. The Smiff brothers supported this local, family business by giving them a check and allowing the community to have free meals on them. Together, they fed close to 200 people.

~Original Story~

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Florida music artists are using their platform to support minority, family owned businesses and provide free meals to the community.

“Us as a community, we can change a lot by being unified and supporting each other,” said Slip N’ Slide artist, Mike Smiff.

It’s safe to say, a lot is going on in the nation right now. Whether it’s the pandemic or the ongoing push for social justice, small, minority-owned businesses are feeling the impacts. With that in mind, Mike and his brother Rondo Smiff are trying to spread a little peace and fill some bellies by taking care of family business.

“A lot of times these small businesses, all they have is family,” Mike said.

Family is the foundation and often times the backbone to businesses.

“You go in, the kids are working the register and sweeping up the shop,” Mike said.

Sometimes, family members are even in the back cooking. The past few months has been very difficult for many small, family-owned businesses. Mike and Rondo are looking to help some of those businesses.

“We have to set the bar and the standards on how we treat each other and support each other,” Mike said. “How we value each other’s businesses and ideas and we have to come more together.”

Mike and Rondo are going around the state and asking each community to share their favorite family business. The business with the most votes get a nice check and the Smiff brothers pay for hundreds of people’s meals. Thus far, the brothers have visited Tallahassee and gave a restaurant more than $1,000 and fed more than 300 people.

For the brothers, they’re just handling family business, which is the title of their latest mixtape.

“It’s kind of like important in these times that we have a voice,” Mike said.

The brother’s next stop is in Tampa at Auntie’s Soul Food.

“It’s good that they are getting together and seeing that we are supporting each other instead of attacking each other,” said Melissa Hayes, owner of Aunties Soul Food.

Hayes has owned Auntie’s for eight years. Since March, she has relied solely on her family’s help since the pandemic affected business. She tells 8 On Your Side, the love and support she is now getting from the Smiff brothers really shows the meaning of what family truly is.

“Sometimes you need your family, sometimes all you can depend on is family. We have to be strong now, it just shows support,” Hayes said.

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