You may know Joey Bada$$ from the Hip Hop collective, Pro Era, and the many mixtapes produced by its members. However, he has added yet another title to his repertoire — philanthropist.
According to The Root, the 25-year-old rapper and actor has teamed up with the New York City Fund for Public Schools and the Department of Education to support homeless youth in the city.
“This is something that I’m passionate about,” he told The Root. “I have a huge vision for the future. I’m going to continue doing things like this. I want to always be giving back to kids like me who come from where I come from, just to increase their chances of getting to where they want to get to.”
According to The City, one in ten New York City students lacked stable housing during the 2018-19 school year. Staggering numbers of homeless youth in the city of New York prompted Joey to use his platform and position to help aid in the solution to the crisis.
“We started doing our research, and immediately got in contact with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and the Fund for Public Schools,” Joey said. “Now that I’m in a position of power where I can help out, it was instantly, immediately, just a no-brainer…it was divine alignment. it was just timing.”
The Fund for Public Schools is a nonprofit and has been in partnership with the NYCDOE since 1982. The Root reports Joey is donating $25,000 to the nonprofit and headphones for students living in temporary housing.
“The NYCDOE told us that initially an emerging need for students were headphones, because [schools have] switched to online learning,” he said. “And a lot of these kids are in homeless shelters or temporary housing, where you’re living on top of other people. They couldn’t focus on their studies without things like headphones…[headphones are] useful to listen to music, too, and music is like [an] escape for kids in these situations as well.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools, Julie L. Shapiro is also dedicated to reducing the number of New York’s homeless students and supports Joey in his philanthropic endeavors.
“We’re grateful to Joey, as a former New York City public school student, for stepping up during this unprecedented crisis to support some of our most vulnerable students,” she told The Root.
Along with his goal of helping NYC’s homeless youth, Joey also plans to get his GED this year. The rapper dropped out of high school during his senior year to focus on his career.
“I was one of those kids who was always in the top of the class,” he said. “It wasn’t ‘til I got to high school where I really realized ‘Yo, I have an opportunity and now is the time to seize it.’ Granted, that had me fall back on my school a little bit because I focused on my career more…I started slacking off because of that, but I never ever thought in a million years that I’d be a kid to say I didn’t finish school. That was never my trajectory as a kid…It was really my mom who put the battery in me where it’s just like, ‘Well, you know what? I could do it and I should [get my GED].’”
Joey is determined to provide homeless students with the chance and resources needed to fulfill their potential and live out their dreams.
“One of these homeless kids could be the next Joey Bada$$,” he said. “They could be the next Diddy, they could be the next Elon Musk. But if they don’t have the resources, they might never actually get to live that potential out.”