As an artist, Ludacris has put on for ATL with quick, energetic rhymes. His homage to the capital city of the Peach State goes far beyond rapping, however. The Southern Hospitality musician is dedicated to giving back to his community through passionate philanthropic efforts. He recently joined Rodney Rikai on the second installment of REVOLT’s “Stand Up For” series, presented by State Farm, and shared why it is important for him to be present in community service endeavors.
“I love so much about this city. The first thing that comes to mind would be the talent that’s here,” the rapper said. “I think it speaks for itself — for decades at this point. Number two, how fast this city is growing. There’s a sign on Peachtree Street that you drive by and it always tells you the population of Atlanta, Georgia. Every couple months or so, you drive past it and it skyrockets.”
Before he was known worldwide as a hip hop artist or actor, Ludacris worked for a local radio station that made giving back a requirement. At the time, a young 18-year-old Luda was initially hesitant to participate, however, he contributed his time and developed a fondness for community service he shared on the episode.
As his career progressed, and he has evolved into a successful businessman, Ludacris is willing and able to do more. He founded the Ludacris Foundation in 2001 and since then, the organization has existed to serve youths and families in underprivileged communities. According to its website, the program operates in Atlanta and provides support in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington DC. This work includes leadership programs, education programs, community events, holiday gifts through Ludachristmas, and lifestyle programs to encourage good habits for wellness and health.
“Anytime you give back, no matter who you are, no matter how small, it’s going to be a win, first and foremost. It’s not about wins for me. It’s just about, with great power comes great responsibility. The Ludacris Foundation, we just celebrated 20 years,” he remarked. “Once I started doing it and I saw the impact I had on all the children, of me just being a local celebrity here in Atlanta, Georgia, man, I was hooked. The more power, and notoriety I gained, and fame, the more I wanted to give back.”
The GRAMMY-award winning artist shared how he’s seen COVID-19 impacted communities. When the pandemic started, it was clear what communities had the access and resources to stay afloat, and not fall behind. A year in, not much has changed for underprivileged areas. Ludcaris aimed to help close the gap in education caused by the pandemic by providing those in need the technology to learn online.
“What we’re doing right now is extremely important. We talk a lot about this pandemic, and I’m not sure a lot of people understand this, but, Black kids are falling behind at three-times the rate of White kids,” Ludacris shared. “There are so many homes that don’t have proper internet, that don’t have iPads, that never had computers. In terms of what the Ludacris Foundation is doing, and what I’m trying to do, is helping all of those areas of technology and get these kids that are falling behind, back to where they need to be.”
Beyond his philanthropic work, Ludcaris and Rikai also discussed his first claim to fame: Rap music. As a hip hop artist, Luda has earned three Grammys and released eight studio albums, with the first five achieving multi-platinum status, and four peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The rapper also holds nine BET awards.
He opened up about the generational difference in hip hop artists of today versus the titans of the 2000s era where he excelled as one of the biggest mainstream rappers from the south.
“I don’t think it was so much of a struggle, but in terms of being an artist now-a-days, every rapper is not just a rapper. It makes me so proud to say that,” Luda said.
Overall, the entertainer is dedicated to continuing his selfless work and inspiring others to follow suit. Through his charity, Luda is able to give back to his community and has zero plans of slowing down.
He added: “One of the things that encourages me to continue doing what I’m doing, ever since the beginning days of doing community service at the radio station, seeing the look on kids faces … one thing that you have to understand, is it may be a day or hour of my time, but, I guarantee you, humbly speaking, any kid that I’ve ever done anything for will remember that for the rest of their lives. They grow up and they pay it forward at some point because they know the feeling, how great it feels, for someone they didn’t know to do something for them.”
Tune into “REVOLT BLACK NEWS’” “Stand Up For” series for the full conversation with Ludacris.