Jeannie Mai and Jeezy are using their upcoming wedding as a way to support Stop Asian Hate, a nonprofit organization that tracks incidents of discrimination, hate and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, as well as provides funds across Asian-owned businesses and foundations.
The Asian communities in the U.S. and around the world have faced escalated discrimination and violence during the past year, a troubling development that hits close to home for the interracial couple. (Mai is of Vietnamese and Chinese descent, and Jeezy is Black.) Through The Knot Registry, the pair launched a charity wedding registry with the goal of raising $50,000 that will be distributed to verified fundraisers supporting the AAPI community.
"What bonded Jeezy and I most is our passion to serve and take care of our communities," the Real co-host, 42, told The Knot. "We will spend the rest of our lives continuing to stand up against injustice, racism and hate."
She continued, "It's not just the recent events that make me mindful about our distinct culture. For Jeezy, everything — from his upbringing, experiences, struggles and his position in this white-centric country — is a learning curve for me; and, vice versa. Part of the foundation of our love is constantly discovering our respective identities and gaining an understanding from our experiences."
On their registry's GoFundMe page, the soon-to-be-married stars encourage fans to join in and support the cause.
"The foundation of our relationship is based on a constant discovery of our respective experiences and individual identities," they wrote. "We want our wedding guests and loved ones to not only feel a connection to our unique backgrounds, but also to give back to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts as individuals and, together, as a couple."
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The Dancing with the Stars alum and the "Soul Survivor" rapper, 43, began quietly dating in 2018 after meeting on set of The Real. Nearly one week after PEOPLE confirmed their romance in August 2019, the twosome went Instagram official. They got engaged last March.
PEOPLE confirmed on Wednesday that Mai and Jeezy had applied to obtain a marriage license with the Fulton County Court Clerk in Georgia. The document would expire six months after being issued.
The couple has stood by each other through thick and thin, including last November when Jeezy encouraged his fiancée to seek medical attention before she was diagnosed with epiglottitis and underwent emergency throat surgery. "I am very thankful for J, my fiancé, because it was his firmness in, 'No, you're going to the ER. We're not turning the other way,' where I was like okay, I obliged," she recalled to PEOPLE the time.
Among the qualities Mai treasures most about Jeezy are his leadership abilities.
"The things I appreciate about Jeezy are endless on the list. I love his smile, his tenderness. He's so generous and serving," she told The Knot. "He's a great servant to his community and such a leader in his own life and in his business. What I mean by leader: it's not that he tells people what to do, he follows and listens to people and tends to people's needs. Nothing is a basic 'yes' or 'no.' Everything has a deeper layer to it."
If you've been attacked or have witnessed an attack, please contact your local authorities. You can also report your incident here. To learn more and to report crimes, go to: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop the AAPI Hate, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council.
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