If you believe some of the music videos, a rapper’s life is all rocking cars, gold chains and glamorous parties with cash flying all over the place.
In real life, we’ve found that some of hip hop’s biggest personalities have big hearts to match — and Kardinal Offishall is a perfect example. Sure, the platinum-selling artist from Toronto has the bling and the swagger, but the parties he throws when the cameras turn off are most often fundraisers, where the money flies to charity.
He collaborates with hip-hop giants like Busta Rhymes and Timbaland, but he’s also known for dropping in to perform surprise concerts for youth groups.
And he may travel the world in style performing high-energy shows, but he’s also traded his mic for a hard hat and work gloves the past few summers to help build schools in East Africa. This year he sponsored nine youth, all from low-income neighbourhoods in his Toronto hometown, to join him.
Kardi (as everyone calls him) grew up with teachers and mentors — including his mom — who instilled in him the value of community and service. He was also raised on reggae, and by age eight was writing and performing the Jamaican-inspired rap that would become his hallmark. At 12, he performed live for Nelson Mandela at an event honouring the recently freed icon. That moment fused Kardi’s dual passions for art and justice, and he’s been trying to find the greater purpose in his career ever since.
His sense of purpose has led Kardi to become a role model for young Canadians — encouraging a global perspective and commitment to community service. With his wife Tashi he runs 30 Elephants, an organization that co-ordinates international travel experiences for teens. The couple fundraised relentlessly over the last year — including hosting Kardi’s annual celebrity-packed Christmas party in downtown Toronto — to bring those nine inner-city kids with them to Kenya this summer.
Giving back to your community might not make for a standard rap video. But it does make for a great role model.
Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger founded the educational partner and international charity Free The Children and the youth empowerment movement We Day.
Article from The Vancouver Sun