Friday, September 8, 2023

French Montana Donates 500 Canoes to the Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria

French Montana is committed to giving back.

After filming a music video for his single “Wish U Well” among the Makoko people in Nigeria, the rapper, 38, has donated 500 canoes to the community who live in structures built on stilts off the coast of Lagos.

Featured artist Swae Lee of the hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, as well as media company gamma. and management SALXCO, helped contribute to the donation.

According to a press release, the “Good Summer” artist and his team developed a plan to deliver boats to the community of 200,000 because they are often at the risk of being endangered by flooding and live with a lack of adequate sanitation systems.

The Moroccan-born, Bronx-raised rapper was said to have been drawn to the Makoko and their vibrant culture, which he highlighted in the “Wish U Well” video that dropped last week, and their resilience of living in the face of climate change.

Per the release, this is one of many times the Grammy nominee has given back to underserved communities. Back in 2017 when he and Swae Lee, 30, filmed the music video for their collaboration “Unforgettable” in Uganda, Montana made a financial donation to help build the Suubi Health Center for maternal healthcare. With the project, he became Global Citizen’s first-ever rap ambassador.

The hip-hop star shared a statement about his contribution to the Makoko in a press release. "I witnessed firsthand how water is both a lifeline and an obstacle in Makoko. These boats are essential tools transporting the residents of Makoko and goods and services,” Montana said.

He continued, “As an immigrant from Morocco, giving back to communities in Africa, the place that raised me is so important. When I was filming, I met local leaders who talked about the daily struggles and aspirations of the wider community. I was moved by their spirit and positivity, which inspired me to get involved and to help impact change.”

“Wish U Well” arrived in late August and saw the hip-hop star team up with the Rae Sremmurd star for the first time since 2017.

His documentary, For Khadija, premiered this spring at the Tribeca Festival, detailing his ascension in the music industry and exploring the sacrifices his mother made in his childhood. He spoke to PEOPLE about the project upon its release.

"The greatness start after your comfort zone," Montana said. "I knew that everything I was going to do was going to be out of the ordinary and I would have to sacrifice to get where I needed to go. Sacrificing was me being in the streets, because I hated to see my mother working 12 hours for $100."

"When it seems like it's impossible, that there's a way you could still make it happen," he added. "You just got to let go, man, and have faith, like how my mother did in the documentary. She prays, and how I did, when I had to make a choice, whether I was just going to get caught up with seeing my mother sacrifice, or I was going to do something about it and make a change."

By Sadie Bell, People

Related stories: Video - Makoko floating school collapses

Video - homeless battle in Makoko

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