MILWAUKEE — Amidst the cars, the girls and the money, it’s hard to find a hip-hop artist who raps about student loans. One man is changing lives in Milwaukee because he did just that, and his hit has gone viral.
A presentation about financial planning and saving for college may not sound like the most scintillating experience, but things are a little different when David Augustine has the microphone.
“I’m going to be honest,” said Destiny High School senior Calvin Hurns. “Coming here, I kind of thought it was going to be boring.”
The Louisiana math-teacher-turned-rapper goes by “Dee-1.” He was in Milwaukee Thursday, September 28th at Junior Achievement of Wisconsin and James Madison High School, as part of his six-city “Knowledge for College Tour.”
“I’m trying to change lives,” Dee-1 said. “I want these kids to know that college is attainable for each and every human being. And graduating college will change your life.”
His music video about paying back his student loans, “Sallie Mae Back,” has more than a million views on YouTube.
“I think Dee-1 is a perfect role model for someone,” said Junior Achievement of Wisconsin President Michael Frohna. “He had a dream, he had to figure out how to get there and it was evident that he was successful in pursuing that dream.”
Thursday was a dream come true for Milwaukee School of Languages senior Monet Lee, the lucky recipient of one of the two $5,000 scholarships Dee-1 gave out.
“I would love to become an interpreter,” Lee said of her post-college plans. “I love studying languages. I love dissecting certain languages.”
Dee-1’s specialty is spreading his message in a language students can relate to.
“It never gets old to give a kid $5,000,” he said. “But it also never gets old to spark a light bulb inside of their own head to where they believe in themselves. That’s more valuable than money, is belief in yourself.”
“It was actually a good song,” Hurns, the previously skeptical Destiny senior, admitted.
And that’s the perfect time to drop the mic.
In addition to the event at Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Dee-1 also gave out another $5,000 scholarship at James Madison High School.