This past Friday, Chance The Rapper once again stood behind a podium in a local school on the south side of Chicago. The position is getting more and more familiar for the 23-year-old rapper who took his latest opportunity in front of news cameras and flanked by students and staff from Paul Robeson High School to announce a $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools from the Chicago Bulls.
The announcement was accompanied by news that twelve more public schools would receive a $10,000 donation to honor his earlier promise to match every $100,000 raised with $10,000 of his own money. Together with his earlier donation of $1 million personally, Chance has so far raised nearly $2.2 million to help chip away at the $215 million funding gap the public school system faces amidst ongoing budget cuts.
For his part, Chance The Rapper is beginning to flirt with legend status in a way that flies above the heads of most of his contemporaries. Whereas Kanye West chooses to rant about the problems he sees in the world from atop a stage that would cover more than one teacher's salary, Chance has chosen to put foot to pavement and back up his words and concerns with real action. While West will certainly be remembered for generations for his musical genius, Lil Yachty will be swimming in Target money for decades and Jay Z will be married to Beyonce, Chance has found a unique, if not surprisingly simple way to work his way into the hearts of America: by actually caring about them.
That's not a drop in the bucket for a city that has been desperately looking for leadership. For a generation of young Chicagoans disenfranchised by a Mayor's office that denies them resources and a national environment that has birthed a culture of propping up embattled caricatures of themselves, Chance is truly authentic breath of fresh air who understands the importance of the role he plays. We're all under attack in this country. As the power-that-be continue to fragment the foundations of societal empathy we've built into place over generations, the message of living for one's independence is more important than ever. We have to realize that the money, the resources, the power very well may not come from the sources it once did. Instead of bowing to the system, walking the beaten path, Chance walked out of his meeting with Governor Rauner and went about constructing a new way to take care of the problems we face. In turn, he's affecting an entire generation of young Chicagoans to whom he's very much become a guiding light.
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