Chance the Rapper: More Than Just an Artist

By Kenjoshua Jones
Shield Staff

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” Luke 2:14 (KJV). Chance the rapper won his first Grammy for best new artist. He started and ended his acceptance speech by saying “Glory be to God.” He claimed this victory in the name of Lord. Chance went on to win a Grammy for best rap album for his Coloring Book Album and best rap performance for his song No Problem.

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Chance the Rapper is not your typical rapper and his success shows. He was the first artist to win a Grammy without a label deal, without any record deal and with music that was streamed online for free.

Shaping a City

Chance's real name is Chancelor Bennett. He is not just a great up and coming artist; he is also active in his hometown community of Chicago. Back in January of 2016, on the eve of the presidential election, Chance lead a Get Out and Vote parade. He encouraged and lead hundreds to the voting polls in Chicago.  

Back in 2014 Chance actively fought to combat gun violence in his hometown and, along with his father, promoted the "#SaveChicago" campaign. In this campaign, Chance reached out to local churches, schools, outreach programs, and businesses, trying to get them to commit to saving every life possible during the Memorial Day weekend. The plan was to get these massive numbers of people out on street corners Friday night with posters and banners saying “#SaveChicago.” Chicago went 42 hours straight during this campaign without a shooting.

Social Change

More recently in 2016, Chance along with many other artist met with President Obama to discuss the My Brother’s Keeper program. My Brother’s Keeper is a public-private partnership that promotes intervention by civic leaders in the lives of young men of color to help tham conquer their own unique challenges and promote racial justice.

Also in 2016. Chances launched his nonprofit organization called SocialWorks.  SocialWorks is an organization in Chicago that aims to empower youth through the arts, education, and civil works while fostering important life skills, such as leadership, professionalism, and connectivity.

The starting of this nonprofit organization goes back to OpenMike. OpenMike was also something that Chance brought to his local communities and it’s goal is to create a safe space for high school students to express, learn, and network with like minded individuals. 

Donations

Chance has not stopped there. In March of this 2017, he will donate one million dollars to the Chicago Public Schools Foundation for arts and enrichment programming. He said that he is “challenging major companies’ corporations in Chicago and across the U.S. to take action.”

On top of this one million dollar donation, he plans on donating ten thousand dollars to specific Chicago public schools staring with Westcott Elementary. This investment by Chance comes from his love for the city that he grew up in and the fact that Chicago Public schools are facing 129 million budget deficits. The mayor of Chicago vetoed a bill that would bring in 215 million dollars to offset the budget.

Chance the Rapper is more than just an up a coming artist. He is a man that cares about his community and wants to give back to it. Chance may not be the ideal role model but we can all definitely take some notes on giving back and just staying apart of your community.