In a new interview with Forbes magazine, Chance The Rapper called late pop music pioneer Michael Jackson his “role model” when it comes to philanthropy while discussing the WE Day youth empowerment event he participated in recently, as well as the obligation of rappers to give back to the communities they come from. The event saw Chance speak in front of 16,000 students from 475 California schools at the Forum in LA.
When asked who he’d like to have seen speak at this school as a teen, his answers ran pretty straightforward: Kanye West and Drake. He also pointed out the differences in the modern generation of kids who learn about social issues much more readily on the internet as opposed to older generations, who may not have had access to the same information, and how he tailors his approach to different audiences when addressing kids about social issues.
Chance revealed that while he doesn’t think musical artists have any more of a responsibility to give back than dentists or lawyers (“I don’t believe anybody has a right to tell anybody that makes music what they should spend their money on once they make it.”), he feels personally obligated due to his role model, Michael Jackson:
The greatest of all time … most philanthropic musician is Michael Joseph Jackson. I think he donated over $600 million to charities and more afterwards… The only person I can really think of off the top when I think of charity that’s a musician is Michael Jackson. That’s how I’ve always thought about it cause most of the people that I grew up listening to were hip-hop artists and I don’t really remember there being a lot of…Ye gave back to the people, but it was in a very different way. It was always through his music. I can’t really think of anybody else.
And while plenty of hip-hop artists have indulged in philanthropic endeavors, many times those efforts fly under the radar. Chance himself has made headlines mainly due to the size of his donations and the visibility of events and programs like his SocialWorks Open Mikes or buying the Chicagoist website in order to educate fans about local politics. While he may have a point about rappers not being obligated to give back, it would sure be nice if his efforts do for future generations what Michael Jackson did for him.