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Macy Gray's MyGood puts the focus on families affected by police killings

The R&B singer and songwriter is using her voice to talk about the problems grieving families face and offer financial help for everything from counseling to funeral costs.

Macy Gray
Giuliano Bekor

This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Macy Gray is best known for her distinctive raspy voice and for R&B hits such as her breakout song, I Try. She's also taken on roles in TV shows and movies and even voiced a video game character, SSX Tricky

But in 2020, Gray decided to work on something different. She set up a nonprofit called MyGood to help families who've lost loved ones to police killings. MyGood offers financial support and emergency funding, for everything from mental health services and legal expenses to funeral costs and headstones to grief counseling. 

Gray makes it clear, though, that MyGood isn't an anti-police organization. One of the charity's goals is to "ensure that laws are challenged to prevent further casualties -- to put pressure on politicians to end excessive force by police," its website reads. But Gray says the focus is really "to take the side of the families ... to support the families through the crazy pain that they go through after a loved one is lost due to police brutality."

Taking their side also means talking to family members, which Gray admits is sometimes extremely difficult, especially with the mothers of victims. "They tell their stories and there's nothing you can say to make anybody feel better," Gray says in an interview for CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast series

Giuliano Bekor

Moms have told her what not to say, which she thinks everyone needs to be aware of. "A couple of moms told me they don't like when people say, 'God decided it was his time' or 'God had a better thing for him to do,'" she says. "They're like, 'You know, God didn't take my son away, the police did.'"

I spoke with Gray about her plans for expanding MyGood and about her fundraising efforts, which include Macy Gray's First Annual Halloween Bingo Bash, a virtual event with a live performance by the artist on Oct. 24. Tickets start at $10, with all proceeds going to MyGood. "It's not a natural thing to happen to someone, to lose their kid that way," she says. "So it's really heartbreaking. I hope people will join us and make their lives as easy as possible."

In a wide-ranging conversation, we also talked about how she's been spending 2020 in quarantine -- she made a record -- and about her current obsessions, which include ordering takeout from Chick-fil-A and binge-watching Transparent on Amazon. 

Listen to my entire conversation with Gray on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can also subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Patrick Holland and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.