Chance the Rapper inspires with philanthropy

Photo courtesy of @chicagobulls/Instagram – Chance the Rapper with Bulls president and COO, Michael Reinsdorf.

Grammy winner Chance the Rapper has taken the music world by storm as of late, both for his music and contributions to his community.

In a world often dominated by gossip and celebrity feuds, it’s nice to see an influential 23-year-old working to make an impact in his hometown. As University of San Diego changemakers, perhaps we can learn from his example of attempting to change his world for the better, through both hip hop and philanthropy.

Senior Christian Corona gave his thoughts on Chance the Rapper and his influence in his community.

“I think with everything that he is doing for the city of Chicago and speaks a lot about his upbringing,” Corona said. “I feel like other celebrities and artists can learn from him about remembering where you came from. What I love most about Chance is that he has been doing good things for his community even before he gained national attention.”

On Mar. 31, the Chicago Bulls announced that they will match the rapper’s initial $1 million pledge to the Chicago public school system. Chance made headlines after announcing that he would help Chicago public schools as much as he can, starting with his donation. The Bulls’ announcement comes after the rapper called upon Chicago corporations to give back to the city.

Chicago public schools have been a recent subject of debate since Chance launched his fundraising campaign in support of his hometown public educational system. His early talks with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner initially seemed positive, but no concrete plans were put in place to aid the impoverished schools. The governor then vetoed a $215 million funding bill in December for Chicago public schools, resulting in backlash from the school board and from Chicagoans that hoped the bill would bring change to the current ailing system.

Senior Michele Demaio is a Chicago native and spoke about the rapper’s local impact.

“I think it’s great that these influential figures and organizations are making news for wanting to make people more aware of a very serious issue that plagues Chicago,” Demaio said. “But if it’s not already apparent from Chance’s unsuccessful meeting with Illinois’ governor,  [Chicago Public Schools] is going to need a lot more than just donations and goodwill to fix. We’ll have to see if social pressure and escalating violence will be enough to make the state act.”

The rapper met with Governor Rauner again in early March, but was left disappointed in vague answers. Since their meeting, Chance has ramped up his support of Chicago’s schools—a fight that has been well-documented on social media, including support from high profile celebrities such as Gabrielle Union.

The Bulls’ announcement to support Chance’s campaign comes at a welcome time, after a period of setbacks from the political side. In addition to the announcement of the Bulls’ $1 million donation, the rapper also announced the creation of the Chance Arts and Literature Fund, which aims to target schools with lower than average five-year graduation rates. His organization, Social Works, has previously donated $10,000 to 10 Chicago schools. After the Bulls’ Mar. 31 announcement, the organization donated another $10,000 to 12 schools.

Chance the Rapper’s popularity and visibility has risen tremendously since the release of his latest, Grammy award-winning album, “Coloring Book.” However, the rapper is not satisfied with his individual success alone, and shared that he hopes to impact his community in a positive way.

On Feb. 26, the rapper bought all the tickets to “Get Out” at Chicago’s Chatham 14 theater so that anyone with photo identification could watch the film for free. He used the opportunity as a nod to a film he thought was incredible and to give back to his hometown.

It is also worth noting that he believes in releasing his music for free—something that is a very different method from many other popular artists. Chance spoke about his decision to release all of his music, including “Coloring Book,” for free.

“I never wanted to sell my music,” the rapper said. “I thought putting a price on it put a limit on it and inhibited me from making a connection.”

Apart from making critically-acclaimed and widely popular music, Chance the Rapper is using his visibility to fight for a noble cause. He sees problems with the Chicago public school system and is doing his best to help the schools that he came from. With the support of celebrities, hopeful Chicagoans, and the Chicago Bulls, perhaps he can go from Chance the Rapper to Chance the Philanthropist. From his initial struggles to latest breakthrough, we can see that it is possible to make an impact in our own communities. Although we may not all have the same influence as Chance, every instance of change starts somewhere, and we all have our own contributions to make.

Written by Walker Chuppe, Arts & Culture Editor