Hey, Chicago. Chance The Rapper needs a key to his city, since he already has the key to our hearts.

During Sunday night’s annual BET Awards, Chance was gifted the Humanitarian Award for donating as much $1 million in support of Chicago public schools. But before accepting the honor, Debra Lee made way for a “surprise from a very special lady.”

Suddenly, former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on the screen and the crowd cheered in unison. “Thanks so much, Debra, and hello, BET family,” Obama said. “Barack and I are so sorry that we can’t be there tonight in person, but please know that we are with you in spirit and we are so incredibly proud of you, Chance.” Chi-town hails as a home to both Chance and the Obamas, and the first lady added that she and her husband “have known Chance and his family since he was a wee little baby rapper, and it has been a thrill watching him come into his own in so many ways.”

 Time and again he has been standing up, speaking out and doing the work to get kids in our community the education they deserve. And with these passionate efforts, Chance is showing our young people that they matter. That they have something inside of them that is worthy of being expressed, and that they have so much to contribute to their communities and to our country,” she continued.

Chance, you are an outstanding role model, and an inspiration to all of us who care about our next generation. Because of you, countless young people will grow up believing in themselves, fulfilling their God-given potential and then reaching back and lifting up other people along the way.”


Chance, who was visibly overwhelmed, forwent a pre-written speech upon accepting his trophy and spoke from the heart. “I had plans originally to try and tell the world and everybody watching how to make it a better place, to tell everybody in this government that y’all need to let everybody out of jail for selling weed before y’all start making it legal for people to sell it and make capital off it,” he shared. “I was going to tell the Chicago public school system not to take out a loan from Chase Bank when they know our schools are planning on failing in the district.”

Chance went on to say that he plans to expand his outreach overseas, and although he may be young — he’s ready.  “Being 24, getting something like this, it doesn’t feel deserved yet, but like I said, my God is putting the pressure on me so I can become who I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I’m a good man, and I’m going to become a better man.”

Congrats, Chance! Keep setting the bar! Check out Ebony‘s chat with him for our #BlackMusicIssue, here.