×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mariah Carey Reflects on Camp Mariah’s ‘Direct Impact on Kids Who Don’t Have Other Options’

Mariah Carey is writing her memoirs, which she promises will be packed with revelations. “Born to a black father and white mother,” she says, recounting the story of her life. “Lived in basically very humble beginnings. Came out of it. Ups and downs, and this and that. And public humiliation and going through the wringer. But then you have an ‘Emancipation of Mimi’ moment,” she says about the album that she released in 2005 after her divorce from record mogul Tommy Mottola. “You have to relish that moment, be around real people that care about you and just shake off the other nonsense.”

Peggy Sirota for Variety

Carey has cemented her place in music history as one of the most successful female vocalists and songwriters of all time, with a staggering 18 hit songs reaching the No. 1 spot on the charts. But she’s equally proud of her philanthropic work. “Camp Mariah is one of the things that makes me feel best about what I have done in my life and in my career because it has a direct impact on kids who don’t have other options,” Carey says about the program that bears her name, which The Fresh Air Fund launched in 1994. “And yes, it’s for all the kids out there: male, female, whatever. It’s something that I feel has made a direct impact on people’s lives.”

Since its inception, Camp Mariah has been a life preserver for children from low-income communities in New York’s five boroughs. Each summer, about 250 seventh to ninth graders spend three weeks in the Lower Hudson Valley, participating in classes (film, photography and debate) and outdoor activities. After they return home, the kids stay enrolled in a curriculum that includes tutoring services and the opportunity to shadow various job paths, such as publishing, electrical engineering and investment banking.

“I will say having been born in the Bronx, we don’t know what we don’t know,” says Fatima Shama, the executive director of The Fresh Air Fund. “Mariah invested in that young people deserve a chance to know what they don’t know. She touched the lives of thousands of kids, showing them they have options. We know the kids who have gone to Camp Mariah have higher graduation rates out of high school and college.”

And Carey keeps close tabs on the camp by visiting the grounds in Fishkill, N.Y., where she offers support and engages in Q&As. “It’s reinvigorating when people come up to you and tell you a story like ‘I don’t think I would be the person that I am without coming to this camp,’” Carey says. “That’s a big deal. It’s almost as big a deal as when someone says, ‘I wouldn’t be who I am without your music.’ Having this camp, it’s a physical place I can go and really experience these moments with the kids. There’s nothing like it.”

More Music

  • Marc Byers

    Execs from Motown, Live Nation, Recording Academy Set to Speak at Culture Creators' Inaugural C2 Summit

    Culture Creators, the organization which recognizes minorities in film, television, music and fashion, is holding its first-ever C2 Summit on Oct. 21 in Washington D.C. Its mission: to engage, mentor, and provide recruitment opportunities to students of color attending historically black colleges and universities. Students were selected from an application process and will participate in [...]

  • Rami Dawod SESAC

    SESAC Toasts Rami Dawod as Pop Songwriter of the Year

    Camila Cabello’s “Never Be The Same” and “Electricity” by Mark Ronson and Silk City featuring Dua Lipa are just a few of the co-writing credits celebrated during an October 16 dinner at Nobu Malibu hosted by SESAC in honor of Rami Dawod. Named Pop Songwriter of the Year by the performance rights organization, Dawod is [...]

  • Luis Fonsi Erika Ender Latin Grammys

    The Second Latin Explosion: How 'Despacito' Ushered in a New Generation of Stars

    Music is an ever-evolving art, and for the Latin Recording Academy, that’s meant riding multiple waves of attention. The most recent arrived with the stratospheric success of “Despacito,” which kicked off a second Latin Explosion with full force in 2017. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit, later featuring verses by Justin Bieber, made Latin [...]

  • Ricky Martin Celia Cruz Gloria Estefan

    From Idea to Legacy: Latin Grammy Awards Mark 20 Years of Global Recognition

    The idea of creating a separate organization to honor the diversity of Latin music was a discussion that took place for years before it actually happened, but an event driven by one of pop music’s most important crossover artists solidified it. During the 41st Grammy Awards ceremony, a young Ricky Martin was scheduled to perform [...]

  • Taron Egerton Elton John Rocketman Live

    Elton John and Taron Egerton Duet at 'Rocketman' Awards Season Event at the Greek Theatre

    “Rocketman” has officially launched into awards season. Paramount hosted a screening of the film with a live-performance of the score by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and a headlining performance by Elton John and the film’s star Taron Egerton. John and Egerton — who is in contention for best actor for his portrayal of the singer [...]

  • BTS 'Good Morning America' TV show,

    BTS Show Love for Lauv and Their Army of Fans in Video for Reworked 'Make It Right'

    Early Friday morning (Oct. 18), BTS gave fans a taste of what their upcoming “comeback” (Korean pop terminology for new music) may be like with a reworked version of “Make It Right.” The Korean boy band collaborated with the American singer-songwriter Lauv, who starts the soulful ballad off with a verse in English. Advocates for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content