Rapper Lil Jon has been using his star power and wealth to help children in underdeveloped countries gain access to a proper education.
A school he helped fund in partnership with the charity, Pencils of Promise, broke ground last month in Ghana, Lil Jon told CNN exclusively.
“I’m all about helping children,” he said. “Children are our future and every child deserves to have an environment where they can learn and flourish and gain knowledge.”
Mafi Atitekpo DA Primary School will enroll 313 children. It is the second of two schools in the village of Mafi Atitekpo in Ghana, according to the charity. The first school, called Abomayaw D.A. Kindergarten, opened last October.
Lil Jon donated $70,000 to help get the two schools off the ground.
Pencils of Promise was founded by Adam Braun, the brother of music manager Scooter Braun, who famously launched the careers of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. The organization’s mission is to provide educational tools for kids around the world.
Lil Jon first visited Ghana in October last year, and what he saw on that trip inspired him to pitch in and help.
“When I saw the conditions where these children were trying to learn, one community they had a big mango tree and two classes were sitting under the mango tree and that’s not a condition conducive with learning,” he told CNN. “Kids are going to get distracted, plus it’s extremely hot. It compelled me to want to do more.”
Jon, who has a son in college at New York University, says that being a father influenced his decision to help.
“Children shouldn’t have to suffer for any reason,” he said. “One of these kids could grow up to be a scientist, a lawyer, an astronaut, the president of their country. I could create an environment where all these things could happen.”
Lil Jon came to fame as a rapper and a DJ best known for hits like “Get Low,” “Snap Yo Fingers” and “Turn Down For What.” He won a Grammy in 2005 for best rap collaboration for the hit song “Yeah!” by Usher and featuring Ludacris.