Chano’s good deeds are honored.
In a year that’s seen him donate $1 million to Chicago Public Schools, Chance the Rapper earned the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards on Sunday (June 25).
The network’s chairman and CEO Debra Lee celebrated Lil Chano’s efforts, before introducing a special video message from former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.
“We have known Chance and his family since he was a wee-little-baby rapper,” she said. “It has been a thrill watching him come into his own in so many ways. In addition to making some really amazing music, Chance has been taking that big, bright spotlight that follows him around and he’s shining it on young people in our hometown of Chicago.
“With these passionate efforts, Chance is showing our young people that they matter, that they have something inside of them that is worthy of being expressed, and they have so much to contribute to their communities and our country,” she added. “Chance, you are an astounding role model and an inspiration for all of us.”
Following these words, Chance made his way to the stage to accept his award. “I love black people,” he said, when he was given a round of applause. “Please, gas me up.”
His speech highlighted some of the causes that he’s passionate about, while also focusing on self-improvement. “This is wildly overwhelming,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be this crazy. I didn’t prepare a speech. I wanted to see what would happen when I got here, to try to speak from the heart. I’m 24 and to be receiving something like this at my age, it feels a little bit, it feels good as hell…To be receiving this feels a little early to be receiving something like this, but my God doesn’t make mistakes. I like to think that he’s putting this enormous pressure on me to see how I react.”
Then, Chance explained some of the issues that have been weighing on his mind. “Y’all need to let everybody out of jail for selling weed before y’all start making it legal for people to sell it and make capital off it,” he said. “I was gonna tell the Chicago Public School system not to take out a loan from Chase bank, when they know that our schools are planning on failing in our district. I was gonna tell those judges that we just need a conviction when we know these ni**as wrong for doing this. But my big homie Reese told me that we gotta work on ourselves before we can work on the world.”