Chance adds another honor to the trophy case.
Sunday evening at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, Chance The Rapper was one of the honorees to be presented with a pre-selected award for his work both in and outside of the music industry when the 24-year old was presented with the Innovator Award—a honor dedicated to those who use their platform and financial resources to support philanthropic causes.
It was Pharrell Williams, a former recipient of the award himself, who fittingly served as the presenter that handed off the trophy to Chance, who was being recognized for his “groundbreaking accomplishments in the music industry and his unsurpassable contributions to social causes.”
The iHeartRadio Music Award committee also credited Chance with using “his voice to fight for youth empowerment through the arts, education and civic engagement” with his non-profit organization, SocialWorks, which received a $1 million donation from Google last year to go toward the nurturing of talent and creativity for kids in Chicago. Chance also made noise last year when he donated $1 million to Chicago public schools to fund art arts and enrichment programs in the city.
“I asked my man Pat [Corcoran] why they would be honoring me, and we had a conversation about musical identity, musical liberation, independence and freedom, and that’s something that we’ve stood on for a long time,” Chance noted during his acceptance speech. “That’s something that we didn’t create though; we didn’t innovate that idea. Musicians were free when this whole thing started.”
The Chicago native would go on to cite and credit several musical influences and peers whose own strides in the industry have paved the way for independence in the musical landscape, including James Brown, Prince, Ray Charles, Beyoncé, and Nicki Minaj among others.
“I didn’t invent independence in any way,” Chance noted. “I didn’t innovate this idea. I’m following behind a lot of other people, and it takes a lot more of us coming together as artists to regain our control and power as we should have it.”