Here’s How Hip-Hop’s Biggest Stars Have Been Supporting African Communities
By Kelsey Marie
Hip-hop music and the artists behind the hits influence what we know as today’s pop culture. From fashion and slang to what’s trending on Twitter, hip-hop artists and black culture, in general, dictate what’s cool.
Hip-hop artists are well aware of their influence and some of the biggest names in the industry are using their wealth and star power to give back to impoverished African communities.
Here’s how hip-hop’s most influential are giving back:
Yes, Jay-Z has 7 Grammy nominations, 22 Grammy awards, and is married to Queen Bey, but he is also known for giving back.
Jay-Z, Beyonce, and many others raised over $7 billion during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandella 100 in South Africa last year. The money went to supporting issues like HIV/AIDS and increasing literacy for 121 million people.
But prior to then, the Brooklyn-born rapper had already done his share of philanthropy in Africa. During a trip to South Africa in 2006, Jay-Z built ten water pumps that are able to work in villages without electricity.
Atlanta native Lil Jon has brought us some of the biggest hip-hop hits of the 2000s. He has been nominated for five Grammy’s and is now worth millions.
Lil Jon has used his wealth to fund two schools in Ghana. After becoming a father, he was inspired to donate $70,000 to the funding of Abomayaw D.A. Kindergarten and Mafi Atikepo DA Primary School.
The rapper said after visiting schools in Ghana: “[In] one community they had a big mango tree and two classes were sitting under the mango tree and that’s not a condition conducive with learning.”
He became adamant about creating an environment where children can reach their goals and dreams.
French Montana, whose real name is Karim Karbouch, was born in Morocco and migrated to the U.S. at the age of 13. He has been nominated for a Grammy three times in the categories of Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.
Montana paid homage to Uganda in his video for the song “Unforgettable”. While shooting, he became inspired and raised $500,000 for the Suubi Center of the Mama Hope Foundation. Some of the funding was raised from his donation of the proceeds for his song “Famous”.
The Suubi Center serves mothers in Uganda and provides maternal and child healthcare.
As a result of help from French Montana and other hip-hop artists giving back to African communities, the Suubi Center is currently building a second hospital so they can continue to provide of the communities in Uganda.
5 x Grammy-nominated rapper Akon, born to Senegalese parents, is not only responsible for giving us hip-hip and pop hits like “Right Now (Na Na Na)”, “Locked Up,” and “I Wanna Love You”, he’s also responsible for ushering in the careers of iconic artists such as T-Pain and Lady Gaga.
When he’s not topping the charts, Akon chooses to give back to Africa, where his family is from. In 2014, he launched the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, providing solar lighting to countries across Africa including Mali, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Benin, Guinea Equatorial, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Namibia, Madagascar, Kenya, and Nigeria.
With 140 million records sold worldwide and a total of 21 Grammy Awards, love him or hate him, Kanye West knows how to keep the people going. Last year, Yeezy took a trip to Uganda to meditate, focus on his mental health and work on his Yandhi album.
While there, Kanye and his crew stopped by Masulita where they visited children at a local orphanage. Every kid was gifted a pair of Yeezys and Beats by Dre headphones. They seemed to enjoy the impromptu visit so it’s the thought that counts.
We know 50 Cent as a multi-platinum rapper, actor, businessman and entrepreneur but many may not immediately know him for are his philanthropic efforts.
In 2011, 50 Cent launched Street King energy drink and as part of his “Individual Social Responsibility” project, he committed to donating one billion meals to the World Food Program over the course of five years. Every energy shot purchased was a meal donated. In just a year, it had already been reported that 50’s efforts had provided millions of meals to needy children in Africa.
Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie