If you logged into any social media accounts over the weekend, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard Atlanta rapper Lil’ Jon has built a kindergarten in Ghana, West Africa. And if you’re like me, you probably had one of three reactions:
The school is named Abomayaw D.A. Kindergarten. It is dedicated to Lil Jon’s late mother, Carrie Smith, and the Abomayaw Community. Located in eastern Ghana, many of the community’s children were getting sick or missing school because they held classes outdoors. That’s nice during good weather, but like all other tropical countries, Ghana has a rainy season that lasts for months.
They made do with sheds during the bad weather, but now these little ones have a three-classroom building where they can begin their educational journey, come rain or shine. Thanks to a dude with dreadlocks, diamond fangs and a pimp cup. You never can tell where your blessings might come from!
Here are a few more lessons we can take away from this story.
- Pimp Juice is a Stage Presence, Not a Way of Life.
In spite of his party persona, Lil Jon is a husband, father and businessman – he didn’t blow his earnings like some other celebrities, but has enjoyed a long career as a performer and producer, which enabled him to become a philanthropist. His son praised him on social media for using his platform to make a difference. He is a great example to share with young people who may confuse a rapper’s wild onstage presence for a desirable way to live.
- There is Power in Partnership.
Lil Jon didn’t show up in Africa one day and make it rain on a random village. He partnered with a nonprofit called Pencils of Promise, which has experience building schools in several developing countries. On a smaller level, we can identify organizations that can use our skills, so that we too can give back (or pay it forward) without having to carry the world on our shoulders.
- Charity (Still) Begins at Home.
Before Lil Jon built a school all the way in Ghana, he used his 2011 appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice” to funnel $80,000 to the United Methodist Children’s Home in his birthplace, Atlanta. I’m highly in favor of us building internationally with our brothers and sisters in Africa and throughout the African diaspora. But until we can reach that far, there are plenty of needs right in our own backyard, okaaaaaay?