LL COOL J visits Making Waves Academy in Richmond

LL Cool J visits Making Waves Academy in Richmond
LL COOL J stopped by Making Waves Academy in Richmond to inspire students on Wednesday, April 8, 2019. (All photos by Amy Perl)

Know who’s cool? LL COOL J. Not just because he’s a famous two-time Grammy Award winning recording artist, prolific actor, author and entrepreneur. But also because he does things like he did on Wednesday: visit a Richmond school with the aim of inspiring local youth.

LL COOL J stopped by Making Waves Academy, the public charter school at 4123 Lakeside Dr,. which serves students from underserved families from 5th through 12th grades with a focus on rigorous and holistic college preparation.

The artist spent time visiting a music class, touring the campus, and talking with the Academy’s Upper School students about the importance of education and how his upbringing influenced his success, according to school representatives.

“I got into music because my home life was tough,” LL COOL J said during his talk. “I got into music because, to be honest, it wasn’t the easiest environment and music was an outlet. I had people in my life who weren’t as nice as they could have been. Instead of falling victim to the environment, I said I’m going to get into music. I fell in love with writing songs. I like the feeling of power that comes with expressing yourself.”’

The artist also gave a shout out to the Richmond school’s name.

“Making Waves is the best name because that’s what you want to do in life,” he said. “You don’t just want to make the wave; you want to ride the wave. You can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you execute a plan and have faith. I’m proof. If I can do it, you can do it, because the sun shines on everybody.”

LL COOL J’s visit was part of the school’s focus on having its students identify their life dreams, which helps them persist to college graduation and overcome life obstacles, school officials said.

“Our students face a variety of challenges at home, in their communities, and in larger society. LL COOL J also faced similar challenges in his youth and overcame them to become an internationally-respected artist, author, and entrepreneur,” said Alton B. Nelson, CEO of Making Waves Academy. “It’s an honor to have LL COOL J speak to Making Waves Academy students about what can be achieved through having a dream, pursuing that dream, persistence, and resilience.”