Killer Mike, Lil Jon, T.I., Tyrese And SZA Joined Forces To Sponsor This Youth Marching Band's Mardi Gras Parade Trip
Before Mike and co. stepped in, the band had only raised $1,000 of a needed $12,000.
February 02, 2018 at 8:02 pm
Atlanta's Frederick Douglass High School eagerly wanted to march in the annual Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, but there was one issue: money. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the school's funding approval was delayed, forcing them to scramble to raise the necessary $12,000.
The band was fresh off a successful year, winning many categories in national marching band competitions, but that success wasn't enough to get it to New Orleans. With just under 50 members, the trip was set to cost $250 per student.
Douglass received a $1,000 donation from Atlanta Partners for Education, but the band was still $11,000 short. It was then that 16-year-old band member Stephen Wheeler decided to take drastic measures since the band was on “the last leg when it comes to funding.”
So, Wheeler used the power of social media to reach out one of the school's most famous alumni on Instagram: Killer Mike.
It wasn't long before band director Michael Wynn got a call from Killer Mike, who told Wynn he wanted to help the school "be great."
The Grammy-winning rapper and activist was not only up for giving his old school money, but enlisted the help of fellow alumni Lil Jon and T.I. for further support. Mike then got Tyrese and SZA to join the initiative as well!
“I didn’t hesitate to pledge my support when Mike hit me up about the Frederick Douglass High School band,” said Lil Jon, who graduated from the high school in 1989. "I try to help out in my communities, and not only am I alumni of the school, but I was also in the band … so I was down. Once I talked to [Mike], and he explained what was going on and where they were, I decided to get them to their goal!”
The generosity of Killer Mike and the celebs that joined him inspired other alumni members and community leaders to step up and step in.
“Now that it’s blown up, a lot of donations have been coming in,” said Wheeler. “That first push started a domino effect. I didn’t expect him to get connected with all these other upper-echelon people. That surprised me, but I’m glad he did. Now the band is going to Louisiana.”
“This means everything to the students and it means everything to me too,” Wynn noted. “I wanted to make sure that the students understood that considerable donations were being given … Everyone had us in mind. They made donations because they believed we worked hard.”