Black female rappers are clearing massive amounts of debt and returning to their communities.
Rapper Missy Elliott, the first female inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recently paid off her rent debt in her hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia. Similarly, Grammy-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion eliminated student loans at her alma mater. Both are evidence that cultural influence can grow into financial influence.
With the rising cost of living and Virginia rental prices increasing an average of 13.7% in 2023, 26 households in Portsmouth were at risk of eviction. Missy Elliott’s $50,000 donation to the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority this October eliminated families’ past-due rent bills, allowing them to remain in their homes.
“I love my city. I love my state. I love everything about it. Everything about Missy comes from here – hospitality, humility, confidence. If you mess with me, it’s There’s a problem. We’re cute, but don’t try us,” Missy Elliott said during a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of her road dedication.
To honor Missy Elliott’s success and influence, in 2022, Portsmouth named a street after her, Missy Elliott Blvd. Virginia Gov. Glenn Younkin also proclaimed October 17 that year as “Missy Elliott Day” in the Commonwealth. Missy Elliott presented a gift of $50,000 on the one-year anniversary of the occasion.
Missy Elliott’s mother Patricia Elliott, speaking at the ceremony, said, “So when you give, you give because you miss the days when you didn’t have. If everyone donated when they reached the top, what a beautiful world we would truly be in.”
Debt cancellation means freedom for many who carry financial burdens, especially college students. Megan The Stallion recently launched the Flamin’ Hot Fund, a scholarship in partnership with Frito-Lay to reduce outstanding debt for students at Texas Southern University, an HBCU in Houston and Megan The Stallion’s alma mater .
On college campuses, expenses like tuition costs, parking tickets and library fees like student loans can prevent students from accessing their transcripts, using their student ID, and even graduating.
The $150,000 scholarship will be funded through a line of streetwear inspired by Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The Stallion Varsity Jacket, a Hot Girls Club sweater, a Flamin’ Hot Tennis skirt, shorts, a jersey and a necklace will go to the fund once sold.
Applications for graduating seniors with student loans at Texas Southern closed October 13. This money will be distributed to students in the spring of 2024 so they can focus on graduation day, debt free.
“I think everyone knows I love education and I would definitely recommend anyone to get a real degree and finish school,” Megan Thee Stallion told Vibe.
Megan Thee Stallion earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration from Texas Southern in December 2021 while pursuing a career in the music industry. The rapper has openly shared that she remained enrolled in college despite her career taking off in order to make the women in her family proud. Especially her mother and grandmother, who died more than three years ago.
Additionally, Frito-Lay will make a separate donation of $100,000 to the Flamin’ Hot Pete & Thomas Foundation, a nonprofit Megan Thee Stallion launched to help underserved communities in her hometown of Houston, in 2022.
“A lot of people I knew couldn’t go back to school because they couldn’t pay for it. No one wanted to take a loan. It’s a part of it, and it’s something you have to do. But once I was in a position to help, I knew this was what I wanted to do. “I’m glad I was able to help someone with their college experience,” Megan Thee Stallion tells Vibe.