Oscar and Grammy winner Common surprised a group of New York students by donating $10,000 to help their teachers buy supplies like calculators and science kits.
The rapper-actor partnered with the nonprofit AdoptAClassroom.org and Burlington Stores to give Renaissance School of the Arts in Harlem the funds on Thursday. Students cheered loudly after they learned the musician was at their school.
“I always felt like one of my biggest duties and purposes is to hit the youth with something that’s inspiring, hit young people with something that can motivate them to be in their greatness,” Common, 45, said in an interview with The Associated Press after the event.
Common encouraged the students to keep their grades up and to persevere — in school and in life. He spoke about pushing through when setbacks occur, telling the students about not getting some acting roles he wanted and competing with other musicians to create a song for the film “Selma.” His song from the movie about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — “Glory” with John Legend — went on to win the Academy Award for best original song in 2015.