×

Michael B. Jordan, Ronda Rousey Join Efforts to Help the Homeless

Michael B. Jordan and WWE star Ronda Rousey were just two of the powerhouses that gathered in Hollywood Thursday night for the LA Family Housing’s annual fundraising celebration.

The live-auction event, which brought together hundreds of top industry executives, philanthropists and government partners, aimed to raise $2 million for LAFH, which builds permanent housing and supportive services for the city’s homeless. In a rallying effort to meet the event’s goal, Jordan and Rousey, alongside families directly impacted by LAFH’s services, took the stage to express the importance of the non-profit’s work.

“I learned at a very young age that people who own less are not less than,” Jordan said on stage. “The people who we help should not be defined by what they lack. Homelessness is not an identity or the result of someone’s mistakes. It is a result of a broken system, people falling through the cracks, racism and discrimination, a lack of affordable housing, and years of unfair pay.”

The “Black Panther” star wasn’t the only one to touch on the stigma attached to homelessness. Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and actor PJ Byrne, the event’s emcee, also pointed to misperceptions of the homeless as one of the leading challenges facing the community.

Blair Rich - President, Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures Group and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and PJ ByrneLAFH Awards 2019, Los Angeles, USA - 25 April 2019
CREDIT: Eric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

“So many people look at homeless people and are like, ‘Just pull yourself up from your bootstraps, go get a job, and get off the street.’ That is not the answer,” said Byrne. “For so many people it happens because of medical bills. They get certain diseases, they’re bed-ridden and can’t pay their rent so they find themselves on the streets with their children. And sometimes you just need that helping hand to get off the streets into a home, reboot, and start your life again.”

According to Rich, who’s chaired the annual fundraiser for the past ten years, such a reboot can be made possible through an innovative model that successfully moved over 2,000 people into permanent housing in the last year. LAFH has 24 properties across Los Angeles, and a campus opening next month offering more than just housing. “I can’t stand the injustice that the stigma of homelessness brings with it which is that it’s an unsolvable problem and people are just trained to look away and people don’t think there’s a solution,” Rich said. “It’s not like a disease without a cure — we actually do know what to do so we have the model and it’s building permanent housing and matching that housing with supportive services like health care, tutoring and job training.”

Bringing together stars such as Jordan and Rousey is one way LAFH brings more attention to the city’s homeless crisis, said Mark Ridley-Thomas, the LA County Supervisor and the honoree of the night.

“I am just very proud that they are here because they get it,” Ridley said when asked about Hollywood’s involvement with the organization. “And many of them have their own journeys, their own stories. Some of those who we celebrate as celebrities have themselves been homeless.”

Rousey spoke of her own tumultuous beginnings in her speech, recounting the times she had to sleep in her car due to instability in her home life. “Like many others here tonight, I was not born into money or privilege,” Rousey said. “I spent more than enough nights sleeping in my car but I was lucky and I found a way to work myself up the economic ladder.”

The Olympic medalist ended her speech on a high note before the night’s bidding began, though. “I believe in advantageous disadvantages,” she said. “There is power in reaching our lowest lows because it not only shows us what we’re capable of enduring but also what we have the ability to rebuild ourselves from. I believe that rock bottom is the most solid foundation from which to rebuild your life”

Travis Browne and Ronda RouseyLAFH Awards 2019, Los Angeles, USA - 25 April 2019
CREDIT: Eric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

More Film

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor

    Natalie Portman Returns for 'Thor: Love and Thunder' as Female Thor

    Natalie Portman is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she’s no one’s love interest this time around. The Oscar winner will play a female god of thunder in the fourth film from the Chris Hemsworth series, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Portman hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to great [...]

  • Fantastic Four

    New 'Fantastic Four' Movie in Development at Marvel

    Marvel is going back to the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced that a new movie based on the superhero group is in the works at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Further details, however, including a release date, were not revealed. It marks the first Fox property for Disney to mine since the [...]

  • Mahershala AliMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Mahershala Ali to Star in Marvel's 'Blade' Reboot

    Marvel is rebooting the “Blade” series, and has cast Mahershala Ali to star. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced the news at Comic-Con on Saturday as the panel’s big ending surprise. Ali also took the stage at the announcement to massive applause, donning the Blade baseball cap. Wesley Snipes previously played the half-vampire superhero in [...]

  • Doctor Strange

    'Doctor Strange' Sequel Billed as First MCU Horror Film at Comic-Con

    A sequel to “Doctor Strange” was announced as expected on Saturday at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel — what we didn’t see coming was the tone. Director Scott Derrickson said the film, titled “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” will mine the original comics and play up “the gothic, the horror.” Derrickson said it will lead [...]

  • Simu Liu Shang-Chi

    Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' Finds Its Lead

    Marvel has found its next superhero. The studio announced that Simu Liu has been tapped to star in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” during its Hall H presentation at Comic Con, joining cast member Awkwafina, who was also announced during the presentation. Additionally, Veteran actor Tony Leung has joined the film as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content