Vic Mensa is using his platform for good. The rapper and activist, who has endeavored to give back to the Chicago community through his SaveMoneySaveLife organization, believes there’s more to be done in the wake of today’s political and social climate.
“I hope companies would [do more]. I’ve worked with a couple that have helped in the social activism side, but in general, most corporations I’ve tried getting involved and help with things, which seems like a no-brainer to me, they get caught up in red tape and particulars,” Mensa told FN. “When I’m like, ‘The black community is the biggest spender with your footwear. And the fact that you don’t have 100 pairs of shoes to give to targeted disenfranchised kids who spend their mother’s last to buy them is very telling about your lack of ethos.'”
However, there are some brands that are stepping up, and Kenneth Cole is one of them.
The designer and longtime activist has teamed up with the rapper for the brand’s fall ’18 ad campaign, as Mensa is part of the seventh installment of Kenneth Cole’s Courageous Class, which highlights role models for social change.
“I look to celebrate and applaud individuals. I want to give them a platform and shine a light on what it is they feel is important, and connect their brands with mine,” Cole said at the label’s 35th anniversary party last night.
Mensa, who was at the event and performed, added: “To be included in this Courageous Class and have attention focused on my philanthropic efforts I feel is a vote of confidence and a step in the direction of what’s right. I always appreciate when brands and people in the corporate space show an appreciation or take an interest in the betterment of the community — particularly when it’s my community.”
The “16 Shots” rapper has been a leader in championing underprivileged youth. In August, he gave away thousands of free shoes to local Chicago children in need after a controversial bait-truck operation took place.
“Last week, Chicago Police escorted a ‘bait-truck’ full of shoes through the South Side of Chicago to lure poor people with FREE NIKES. So we’re filling a truck with shoes to give away to those who need it,” Mensa tweeted at the time.
With his charity, the 25-year-old helped give away 15,000 pairs of free sneakers to crowd of approximately 20,000 at Chicago’s West Englewood Community Center.
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