Jeff Cinco is a musician with a band called Dinosaur Warlordz, a proud Staten Islander, and most recently an LGBTQ activist.
What inspired you to give to MRNY?
My friend who is transgender wanted to undergo gender reassignment surgery, which is really expensive, and I wanted to help them out in any way that I could. We talked about putting together a fundraiser for their medical bill, but we decided we wanted to do something even bigger. When we found out about MRNY’s LGBTQ Justice Project and the work they do to protect the civil rights of transgender New Yorkers, we decided to give half the money to the organization.
How did you organize the fundraiser?
This was one of my favorite events I’ve ever thrown. We got DJs, several local bands, and artists involved. We got two photographers and people to design flyers and help with promotion. And, we got prizes donated from tattoo shops and designers. It was really beautiful. So nice to see people do that for an unknown person. Everyone who got involved gave 100%.
In the end, my friend actually decided to give ALL of the money raised to MRNY. That was really touching and really special.
How did you first hear about MRNY?
I bartend, play music, and throw events at Radio Bushwick, and the owner of the bar who is very active in the community helped us get in touch with MRNY’s organizers. I felt a connection to MRNY’s work because I’m a Latin American. My mother is Colombian and my father is Peruvian. I’m very proud of that.
Why are LGBTQ rights important to you?
With my brother being a young gay advocate, I want to help any kind of community that helps them. With this event, I was able to help the community that I’m not usually a part of. I’ve met some transgender people who I didn’t even know were transgender. They opened up to me. I’d already been friends with them and I had no idea. It really touched their hearts that I wanted to plan an event to benefit their community, as a straight man, they thought, why would I want to do this? I just cared, you know. People are people, it’s as simple as that.
What’s your hometown?
Staten Island. I grew up here and I’ve been living in the St. George neighborhood for a number of years. I’m getting more involved with the community. Staten Island is overlooked as a borough and I want things to thrive here. Local business owners, community parters, and artists get together and talk about how we can make Staten Island more welcoming to people. We want to show there’s more to Staten Island.
Where is your favorite place to go in Staten Island?
I personally spend most of my time at the studio making music, but we got some great bars and restaurants here right off the boat in St. George. There’s a really nice restaurant called 120 Cafe Bay. I’ve played there a couple times, it’s fun. There’s a lot of art in the area, and small businesses. Richmond Hood Company, a skate company, is very involved in the community. They are Staten Island to me. You gotta give Staten Island a chance, that’s what people gotta do. Kinda just go out there and experience it. We’re a lively community.
Jeff knows what it means to be part of a community. Become part of Make the Road’s community of donors by becoming a sustaining member today!
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