The innovative artist is crusading against violence in Chicago.
The staff of Fortune and a panel of experts recently assembled our annual list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Here’s a profile of one of them.
If you harbor any old-fashioned stereotypes about what a leader looks like, put them aside, because Chance the Rapper is about to bust every one of them. In a music industry dependent on album sales and exclusive artist deals, 23-year-old Chance—born Chancellor Bennett—stays independent, releasing streaming-only mixtapes. This year, the rapper and author of infectiously uplifting, Christian-infused rhymes set a new template for the music industry when his mixtape Coloring Book became the first streaming-only recording to win a Grammy (in fact, it won three).
Chance is also a political force as an anti-violence campaigner in his hometown of Chicago, and he may only be getting started. His latest salvo: A $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools, after he called Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to task for what Chance called Rauner’s neglect of educational funding. The cash will go towards arts and after-school programming—and even set off a chain reaction, with Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett inspired to donate his endorsement money to worthy causes.
This article is part of the 2017 World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list, our annual directory of world-changing leaders in business, government, philanthropy and beyond. Click here to see the entire package.