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As exemplified in a handful of ways throughout his multifaceted career over the years, T.I. consistently places social justice, youth empowerment and community at the forefront of everything he does. Naturally, it is only fitting that the Atlanta mogul found a way to incorporate students from the Atlanta Music Project, a non-profit organization that helps children receive a tuition-free music education, into his latest performance for NPR's coveted Tiny Desk series.
T.I.'s decision to include the talented group of aspiring musicians made the performance that much more impactful, offering an appreciated classical twist on some of his most celebrated trap anthems ("Rubber Band Man," "What You Know," and "Live Your Life"). Overall, T.I.'s enthusiasm for putting on for the youth further signifies his own growth as a man with a less-than-perfect past, an integral aspect of his character that speaks to the influence his legacy holds.
Similarly, Chicago artist Vic Mensa has a way of rising above adversity, consistently finding ways to best use his platform to be a voice for others, influence positive change and give back to the community.
In response to local authorities planting a "bait truck" full of sneakers (in a widely-criticized move to catch people in the act of stealing), Vic Mensa opted to take the high road, organizing an "Anti-Bait Truck" event during which the rapper and his SaveMoneySafeLife Foundation gave away thousands of free name-brand sneakers in Englewood. Along with donations from "multiple athletes and musicians who asked to remain anonymous," Vic Mensa once again has emerged as a true leader, someone who refuses to give up on helping the streets of Chicago despite his own career in music elevating him to new heights.
TELL EVERYBODY THE #ANTIBAITTRUCK MOVEMENT IS IN EFFECT TOMORROW ON 2050 W 59TH ST WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF FREE SHOES TO GIVE AWAY FROM VANS TO JORDANS TO FILAS TO YEEZYS AND AN ABUNDANCE OF LOVE. BRING YOUR MOMMA AND SISTER AND YO LIL COUSINS N THEM!!! 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 pic.twitter.com/N5KI5w3KzW— vino valentino (@VicMensa) August 25, 2018
While Vic Mensa and T.I. are certainly not the only leaders in contemporary hip-hop dedicated to empowering the youth in underserved communities, both have carved a lane for themselves by putting others first, proving that monetary donations are not the only way to make impact. Whether it's organizing a community sneaker giveaway or sharing the spotlight of a national platform with deserving youth talent, no act of kindness or empowerment is too small to be celebrated.