Chance the Rapper is laying out the virtual red carpet to host an award show this week, and it isn’t for musical artists or movie stars.
The Chicago rapper is taking to Instagram for the first-ever “Twilight Awards” to honor — and surprise — educators during Teacher Appreciation Week.
Chance, a Chicago Public Schools graduate who attended Jones College Prep, is hosting Instagram Live sessions on his page, @ChancetheRapper, Wednesday through Friday at 7 p.m. each night, with the first one entirely featuring CPS teachers who’ll join the livestream and share their experiences as educators.
Over the three days, the Grammy-award winner plans to surprise 10 teachers and schools by donating school supplies and a total of $300,000 on behalf of Box Tops for Education, a school support program founded by General Mills in 1996.
“The overall idea came from trying to sort of give people understanding of the gravity and importance of teachers and how they are truly — I’m trying to say it in the least poetic way possible — but they’re really heroes and superstars,” Chance said in an interview with “Good Morning America.”
“We remember who the starting five of the Lakers are, who had the No. 1 album of the year for the longest and who taught us our multiplication when we were in second grade,” he said. “The true superstars are the people that stick with you, and that’s what teachers do.”
This is far from Chance’s first effort to support and recognize teachers and students.
Chance, whose given name is Chancelor Bennett, first developed the teacher award show idea in 2017, around the time he became active in advocating for more funding to CPS.
He met with then-Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss school funding in March of that year, and days later donated $1 million to CPS for arts enrichment programs — urging private businesses to do the same. The Chicago Bulls donated another $1 million.
That fall, Chance’s non-profit Social Works distributed $2.2 million in grants to 20 CPS schools, each receiving $100,000. In the summer of 2018, Chance served as Grand Marshal of the famed Bud Billiken Parade and handed out 30,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to Chicago students.