Fat Joe visits new teen center at Mott Haven Library
Grammy-nominated rapper Fat Joe made a surprise visit to students at the Mott Haven Public Library on Wednesday. Middle schoolers from Brilla College Prep got a chance to hear the ups and downs he experienced on his journey to success.
Raised in the South Bronx in Morrisania, Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena was born as hip-hop was coming of age and used music as an escape from his family’s struggles in poverty. Now, with four Grammy nominations under his belt, multiple successful businesses, and a net worth of over $1 million, Fat Joe frequently gives back to the place he once called home.
He encouraged the students to stay in school, ignore the temptations of life in the streets, and never give up on their dreams. The rapper was particularly impressed by the library’s new recording studio as was 8th grader and aspiring rapper, Adriel.
“I want to make music myself, I want to be a beat-maker or a rapper. So, I definitely see what he’s saying, I definitely relate to all of his struggles.” said Adriel. Adriel says plans to use the studio - something he never knew existed – on his next visit to the library.
This was the second celebrity literacy event at the library, made possible in part by a collaboration with celebrity Chef Melba Wilson who owns Melba's Soul Food in Harlem. In March, the Library and Wilson joined forces for a “Celebrity Story Time” where daytime television talk show host Sherri Shepherd led a story time with dozens of New York City school kids.
The initiative is part of NYPL’s ongoing efforts to promote reading and access to knowledge for young people, especially teens.