He’s one of the biggest names in music now, but it’s Chance the Rapper’s work as a philanthropist that’s seen him become revered as more than just a great entertainer.
Even if you’re not into rap, you’ve probably heard the stories of how Chance has campaigned tirelessly to promote education as the means through which his hometown of Chicago, Illinois can overcome its issues with crime, gun violence, and poverty.
Famously, in March of 2017, the artist met with Governor Bruce Rauner to discuss the gap in funding for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) – a gap that would have been closed if not for the Governor’s decision to veto legislation that would have seen schools receive $215 million in support. Disappointed by Rauner’s vague excuses, Chance took matters into his own hands by donating $1 million of his own funds to CPS. The bold act made headlines around the world, and inspired other celebrities to offer their support as well.
But it’s not just with money that Chance hopes to support educators.
On September 1st, he took to the stage of the inaugural SocialWorks Summit – an event designed to highlight upcoming programs from his “empowerment charity” of the same name.
After revealing the recipients of the New Chance Fund – a grant that sees $2.2 million in funds given to 20 local schools – and detailing some of SocialWorks key achievements over the past year, Chance said goodbye and began to walk off stage to a round of applause.
But before he reached the wings of the stage, he turned back.
“Oh. One more thing.”
“In June of 2018, the city of Chicago will hold the first ever annual Twilight Awards, recognising teachers, parents, principals, and students that convey leadership.”
With that, he was gone.
The announcement, made almost casually, was a masterclass in showmanship. He said so little, and yet the impact of the announcement was felt around the world.
The awards mark a monumental opportunity to recognise and appreciate the sacrifice of educators – sacrifice that the industry itself often fails to acknowledge.
That the event will also highlight parents demonstrates Chance’s understanding of the role family plays in instilling an education into students. They may seem like a subtle inclusion, but it’s a brilliant way to inspire parents to get more involved not just with their own children, but with the system as a whole. Undoubtedly, volunteer services will prove a lifeline in a city with a $200 million deficit in its education budget.
As befitting the handiwork of an iconic musician, the Twilight Awards promises to be not just a presentation, but a celebration. Chance has promised special guest performances throughout the event, and revealed that The Late, Late Show’s James Corden will host.
It’s a perfect example of how entrepreneurs, not governments, are making the most important changes on every level of our society. And at age 24, Chance is only getting started.
We can’t wait to tune into the Twilight Awards next year.