Imagine you are a 24 year old who just won three Grammy Awards for your latest album.
Who is the #1 advocate for students?
What do you do?
Would you buy a Bugatti?
Or move into a giant mansion?
Perhaps you would spend your time on a boat?
Wait! I have it! You visit the governor of your home state, get angry with the state of funding for public education... and decide to do something about it.
That is exactly what Chance the Rapper is doing.
If you haven't heard of Chance the Rapper... then you must be over the age of 21.
Chance the Rapper is the creative mind behind the first streaming-only album to not only gain critical acclaim, evidenced by his Grammy wins, but also ground breaking commercial success. Even though you could not buy a physical copy, Chance's Coloring Book peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200.
A few weeks after winning three Grammy Awards, Chance began engaging in a twitter exchange with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. After the two met in March, the artist expressed his disappointment with educational budget cuts to the Chicago Public School system.
Instead of merely complaining, Chance pledged to donate $1 million to CPS to support arts and enrichment programming.
Then he got to work.
He didn't stop with just $1 million. In the six moths since his Grammy wins, Chance has raised $2.2 million dollars. This past Friday, he announced which 20 CPS schools would receive $100,000 each. At his presentation to announce the donation, Chance said, "Funding education is the most important investment a community can make.”
He put his money where his mouth is. Raising funds for CPS wasn't enough for the rapper. On August 12th, Chance and volunteers from SocialWorks (his youth empowerment charity) gave away 30,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to children attending the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago.
One backpack down. 29,999 to go.
Speaking of SocialWorks, the organization provided a summer school enrichment program for Chicago children. The organization also provided over 1,000 high tech winter coats for the homeless people of Chicago. The charity's goal is "to empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement while fostering leadership, accessibility, and positivity within the youth throughout Chicago."
On Friday, Chance placed the cherry on top of his activism for education. Channeling his best Steve Jobs impersonation, Chance closed the SocialWorks Summit Vol. 1 by announcing that in June 2018, Chicago will host the first annual Twilight Awards to honor “teachers, parents, principals, and students that convey leadership.” James Corden will host the inaugural event which will include "special guest performances". I can't wait to see who he has lined up! More importantly, I can't wait to see people, who are dedicated to educating the youth of America, get the credit they deserve.
On March 6th, while visiting Westcott Elementary in Chicago, Chance posed the question, "Who cares? Who cares about the kids?"
Clearly he does. Hopefully other influencers will join him in his fight to help provide a quality education for all children.
To be honest, I am not really a fan of Chance the Rapper's music. I am more of a Beastie Boys and Public Enemy fan. But I still respect his talent. He is a brilliant and creative writer. If you don't believe me, check this out (the poetry begins at 0:53)...
"The people's champ must be everything the people can't be..."
Not only is Chancelor Johnathan Bennett trying to be that champ... he is helping to empower children to rise up to become the next champs.
So... is public school students' greatest champion a 24 year old rapper?
The students who thanked Chance in this open letter sure think so.
Who am I to argue with them?
If there any other educators, parents, students or friends, who would like to share education related content, make sure to use the steemiteducation tag so those interested in education related posts can find it. If you would like to encourage more education related posts, please follow @steemiteducation and consider delegating SP to @steemiteducation or @steemwizards. Thank you to @lukestokes who already has.