Mina Taylor
Category: 2021 High School Winner

Mina Taylor

In a climate like the one that we are in today, acknowledging the phenomenal entity that is black excellence is extremely imperative. As a black young adult, recognizing the important black figures in my life is essential to me. Of course, there are the people like Martin Luther King, Sistah Soulja, and Kamala Harris. However, one black figure who has been a constant in my growth from adolescence to now is J. Cole. J.Cole is a Grammy-nominated rap artist who has revolutionized the rap industry. His music helped shape my view on black issues in the community before I was old enough to understand the news or social media. He has also made an impact on the community through his music and more.

J. Cole has always been conscious of the message he is presenting in his music. Songs like 4 Your Eyez Only and Immortal speak to the harsh realities of what it is like growing up as a black man and the low expectations set for them by society. Songs like Crooked Smile speak to the common insecurities that come with being a black woman in America. J. Cole does little to sugarcoat his meanings behind his lyrics. Knowing that someone wants to confront these issues head-on in a way that he knows will get the public’s attention was everything to me. It made me feel seen and heard.

J. Cole was the first artist that ever really caught my attention. He let me know that he was not just making music for a cool beat and a catchy beat. Anyone who listened to his music could tell that he really puts effort into his words. However, award-winning music is not all that Cole has provided to the public. The Dreamville foundation was founded in 2011 by J.Cole and his record label, Dreamville Records. With his foundation, he provides programs for black children of all ages to let them know that they can be more than drug dealers, rappers, and athletes. His foundation has also provided help in his home state of North Carolina after Hurricane Florence.

J. Cole is a world-renowned rapper, producer, and performer, but he also more than that. He is an activist, a philanthropist, and a mentor to many young black kids like myself. Cole gives a voice to those who are being ignored, and he is also unapologetic about his viewpoints. Cole has always inspired me to find the creativity inside myself and use it to change the world for the better as he has. I hope that I will have the pleasure to meet him one day and hopefully impact him as he has on me.