Rapper Pitbull is making the expansion of his educational endeavours his New Year’s resolution, pledging to teach 20,000 students in his schools by the close of 2019.
The Timber hitmaker is the co-founder and ambassador for SLAM! (Sports Leadership Arts and Management) charter schools, which has expanded into seven locations since the first campus was founded in 2013 in his native Miami, Florida, and now he is looking to educate double the number of kids for the year ahead.
“When it comes to education, we have now 10 schools with 10,000 kids in it. So I would say for next year my resolution would be to be up to 20 schools with 20,000 kids in it,” he tells Variety.
Pitbull, real name Armando Perez, is proud of his work with SLAM!, which serves low-income students with free tuition and boasts a 95 per cent graduation rate, and he hopes the success of the schools shows others how the arts can help improve society.
“Bottom line, my goal is always to show people the power of music and how that can unite people instead of divide people,” he explains, “and the society that we’re living in right now, everybody’s about instant gratification and they’re more about negative news rather than positive news. So if we can continue to put out music that brings people together instead of separating them, that to me is always the major accomplishment. Because that leads us to be able to do things like education and really help those that really need it and those that really crave and starve and take advantage of opportunities.
“So with that said, as always the major goal is utilising music to the best of its ability to bring everybody together.”
Pitbull was honoured for his contribution to the music industry with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Friday (14Dec18) and the event was wrapped up with an even greater honour courtesy of his good pal John Travolta.
“It’s a true honour and there’s not even words to explain what it is to be a part of something so iconic – to be able to leave your legacy one way or another in Hollywood,” he gushes of his cement ceremony. “A good friend of ours, John Travolta, hit me up with a message saying: ‘They better put you next to me.’
“So for John Travolta, with everything that he has contributed to Hollywood and to film and the icon that he is, to be able to hit me up with a message like that? It’s priceless.”
Travolta was on hand at the ceremony to celebrate his friend’s feat.