J. Cole walks the walk of activism and charity

Not only does J. Cole use his platform to raise awareness for issues, he also puts his money where his mouth is with his philanthropy.

If you’re looking for examples of celebrities who use their fame for good, look no further than J. Cole. Jermaine Cole has brought the platform and the resources his success has given him to bear in giving to communities in need as well as in speaking out about the things he cares about.

Between his Dreamville Foundation and his activism-centered music, he’s walking the walk and talking the talk. And it’s inspiring to watch.

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Rapper J. Cole performs in September 2021 during his “The Off-Season” tour at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Using his voice and platform

In both his music and his actions, J. Cole shows up for what he cares about, and his fans reward him for it. We’ve picked two big topics to highlight here, but be assured: He has been and will continue speaking out.

Black Lives Matter

In 2014, after a police officer killed Michael Brown, J. Cole was one of the few celebrities to go to Ferguson, Missouri, to mourn with the community there. When Complex caught up to him, he was quick to make sure that the focus wasn’t on him as a celebrity but on the moment that we all found ourselves in. He said that he’d spent the day mostly in silence, listening to the protesters and others around him.

That empathy was on display again after a police chokehold led to the death of Eric Garner in New York. Again, instead of drawing attention to himself, he simply marched with the protesters, sharing in the emotion of the moment.

More recently, J. Cole told Complex that he had decided to change the focus of his music to move toward activism not only in his actions but in his albums. He said the shift was specifically motivated by the book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander. He said that the book rang so true to life that it felt like a rallying cry to move away from talking about himself to speaking out about something bigger.

Black Lives Matter sign, theGrio.com
A demonstrator holds a Black Lives Matters sign during a protest against racism on June 6, 2020, at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina. J. Cole has attended such protests. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)


Although Cole’s focus has renewed when it comes to using his music for activism, he’s been doing just that for over a decade. Just take his hit song, “Lost Ones,” which tackles the issue of abortion in raw truth.

The lyrics follow the story of a boyfriend and girlfriend who have just discovered that she is pregnant. By giving both perspectives (his being that he isn’t ready to bring a child into the world and hers being that she feels abandoned and used when he says he doesn’t want to marry her or raise a child with her), J. Cole was able to bring nuance to a fraught conversation through his music.

All things considered, we aren’t surprised to hear this activist artist say he’s going to speak out more. He hasn’t hidden what’s on his mind before, either.

Giving to the issues and communities he champions

Activism is about more than just words, though. Philanthropy and outreach also play roles. J. Cole not only speaks up about the issues he cares about but has been involved in bettering the community around him from the very start.

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J. Cole watches the action during the NBA All-Star game in February 2019 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. He coached preteens in basketball before his success. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Working with the youth

Even before J. Cole was famous, he was working with young people. He worked with preteens as a basketball coach, and ever since, it’s easy to see that he has an affinity for helping kids reach their potential no matter their circumstances.

Once he had enough success that he knew he could start giving back, he turned his attention toward helping youngsters. He has helped raise money and collect supplies for kids to meet their back-to-school requirements, and his foundation continues that work with fundraisers and other support for kids in need.

Helping single moms

The home that J. Cole’s mother was able to buy on Forest Hills Drive in Fayetteville was so instrumental in shaping his childhood that he named one of his albums after his childhood address. That’s because Cole saw his mother struggle with poverty after his parents separated and she had to raise her kids in a trailer park.

Even though his mother was able to save enough money to get a house, they lost it. When he found success, he bought the home again and converted it into a place that struggling single mothers can use to get back on their feet.

“The idea is that it’s a single mother with multiple kids and she’s coming from a place where all her kids is sharing a room. I want her kids to feel how I felt when we got to the house,” he told “The Combat Jack Show” about the house.

Families who use the house can stay there rent-free for a couple of years, and then a new family that needs that peace comes in.

Celebrities Attend The 68th NBA All-Star Game - Inside
J. Cole performs at halftime during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has shown appreciation to his fans widely and on an individual basis. (Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Aiding hurricane victims

When J. Cole’s hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was hit by Hurricane Florence, he immediately started to raise funds for those who had been affected by the natural disaster. In addition to supporting food pantries and other nonprofits on the ground, the Dreamville Foundation also offered hot food and housing.

After dozens of people died in the hurricane, funds and charity like this were much needed. The hurricane caused billions of dollars in damage and uprooted entire communities as they fled the storm.

Coming through for fans

On an individual level, J. Cole reaches out to more than just the families that use his home every two years; he’s come through for fans multiple times.

He went back to his hometown in 2015 to surprise a fan who had cancer. That same year, he went to a fan’s high school graduation to celebrate the fact that she’d been accepted into college. That fan, Cierra Bosarge, had written him a letter years earlier explaining the impact he’d had on her during a difficult childhood, and he was so touched that he promised to be there for her. Last year, he also attended her college graduation.

J. Cole showed up to support a fan for a second time last year, attending Cierra Bosarge’s graduation from Rowan University in New Jersey years after showing support at her high school graduation. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

J. Cole is aware of the platform he has, and seeing him take on the mantle fans give him and do his best to help personally shows that he means it when he puts his heart into wider activism, too.

Success has been good to J. Cole, and he’s been good to the world in return. We love to see his philanthropy and hope he continues to show the music world how it’s done.