Chance the Rapper: Leading and Living in Tune with Love

People who are living from love are hard to ignore. They bring a positive energy (and often, a lot of it) to everything they do, and because of this they are able to recruit others to their cause and, in my experience, succeed in making their goals a reality.

Chancelor J. Bennett, the 24-year-old Chicago native known to the world as Chance the Rapper, is an extremely successful rapper, record producer and actor. But outshining all of that is the quality of heart that he brings to the many philanthropic initiatives he leads. Between spearheading successful anti-violence social media campaigns, organizing open mic nights for Chicago youth, and starting an organization to support arts and other programming for Chicago Public Schools, it’s hard to believe he finds time for his namesake activity. Last March, he donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and started his Arts & Literature Fund, an effort that has raised $2.2 million, to help empower CPS students.  In October he forged a partnership with Lyft, Round Up and Donate, which will enable riders to donate to CPS by rounding up their fares.

Those who live and work from a place of love shine brightly, and while recognition is never a goal of the heart-based leader, they often receive it. In 2014, Chance the Rapper was named Chicago’s Outstanding Youth of the Year for his work promoting the #SaveChicago social media campaign, which helped contribute to 42 consecutive hours without gun violence in Chicago, and in 2017 he received the BET Humanitarian Award.

 (Photo by Scott Dudelson/WireImage )

But it’s not only through activism that Chance is leading from the heart and doing so with great success. He’s also stood behind his beliefs in business, making the decision to write uplifting lyrics and forego the traditional record label deals and release his music via streaming services only. His album was the first streaming-only recording to win a Grammy, and his music has won numerous other accolades. He made it onto Fortune Magazine’s 2017 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders, taking his place alongside business icons like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon.

By bringing creativity, passion, and generosity to every project he takes on, and letting these core values drive his decisions and actions, this young leader has set a new standard for the socially-minded celebrity. He inspires across generations and industries through his continued commitment to equality and social justice.