Rodney King Scholarship 2019
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Rodney King's Daughter Launches "I'm A King" Scholarship For Black Fathers

Lora King is reshaping her father's legacy with the touching scholarship program. 

Lora King was just seven-years-old when her father Rodney King was brutally beaten by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. Recorded by a bystander, the footage became a monument in police brutality against people of color and inspired the infamous L.A. riots of 1992. As we rest on the 27th anniversary of the riots, King's daughter has launched a special scholarship for black fathers.

Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, King explained how the scholarship will help benefit black fathers by way of covering costs of family activities as simple as dinner to potentially larger activities like an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland. The "I Am A King" scholarship falls under the Rodney King Foundation for Social Justice and Human Rights she launched in 2016.

“As long as I continue to follow my vision, he will always be represented," King said of the scholarship. As her father was thrown into the limelight, his past followed him and gave critics an opportunity to verbally beat his name in the public.

King's case predates the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement and also reflects the nature of how trauma from police brutality took a toll on King's life. The Sacramento native continued to battle with alcoholism following the incident and the acquittal of Sgt. Stacey C. Koon and officers Timothy E. Wind, Laurence M. Powell and Theodore J. Briseno in 1992. Koon and Powell were later sentenced to two and a half years in prison in a second trial.

But to Lora, her father wasn't a flawed civil rights figure. He was a humble man who wanted to make a life for his children as smooth as possible. After being awarded $3.8 million in damages, Lora told the outlet he helped foster her talents like paying for leadership camps and art programs. They also took trips to art exhibitions frequently and surfed in Venice. With the "I Am a King" scholarship, King Is hoping that fathers can do the same with the children, strengthening their bonds with every memorable moment.

To apply, black fathers can go to the Rodney King Foundation site where they will submit a picture and a short essay about their plans for the scholarship money. The first awards are expected to be handed out on Father's Day, which happens to be day she lost her father and the due date for her first son.

Several private donors have already backed the program with more than $10,000 in donations. Lora’s hope is that the bulk of the funds for this program will come from private donors, while the general public can support the program.

“I want to help build up what was burnt down,” she said.

King died in 2012 in an accidental drowning, leaving behind his children and fiancee, Cynthia Kelly. Just a few weeks before his death, King spoke with OWN's Where Are They Know series where he talked about his memoir The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption and what he wanted his legacy to be.

"The world knows me as a person who got beat up by the cops, the real Rodney King is the 'Can't we all get along type of guy,'" he said. "I'm a different man than I was 20 years ago. I wouldn't change anything, because if it didn't happen to me, it would be a slower process in people getting along."

Learn more about the "I Am A King" scholarship here.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty

Nicki Minaj, Tracy Chapman Fail To Reach Settlement In Copyright Lawsuit: Report

Tracy Chapman’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Nicki Minaj is moving forward after the two reportedly failed to reach an agreement during a recent court-ordered mediation.

Chapman is accusing Minaj of unlawfully sampling her song “Baby Can I Hold You” for the track “Sorry.” Minaj reportedly confirmed in court documents that the song never made it to her album because Chapman didn't approve the sample, The Blast reports.

According to the website, the battling sides “couldn’t reach a settlement,” and an agreement is not “imminent.”

Chapman sued Minaj in the fall of 2018. Months earlier, Minaj revealed that Queen's release date hinged on Chapman. “So there’s a record on #Queen that features 1of the greatest rappers of all time,” she tweeted at the time. “Had no clue it sampled the legend #TracyChapman - do I keep my date & lose the record? Or do I lose the record & keep my date?” Minaj also pleaded for Chapman to get in contact with her.

“Sorry” was never officially released, although  Minaj is accused of leaking the song to Funkmaster Flex who debuted it on his radio show.

The "Megatron" rapper denies committing copyright infringement, and reportedly claimed fair use as her defense. Minaj also allegedly argued that Chapman doesn’t even own the copyright, and is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

Continue Reading
Kevin Winter

Iggy Azalea Calls T.I. A “Misogynist” For Saying She Tarnished His Legacy

T.I.'s apparent moment of candor didn't sit well with Iggy Azalea. The Aussie called her former Grand Hustle boss a “huge misogynists” in response to him saying that she stained his legacy.

“Imagine thinking I was his biggest blunder lmaoooooooooooooo. Tip. Sweetie. We have a whole list for you,” she reportedly wrote in a series of tweets that were later deleted.

“The tea I could spill on what bulls**t this is but at the end of the day I think people can see it’s clear he’s salty,” she continued. “He’s a huge misogynist and has never been able to have a conversation with any woman in which he doesn’t speak like a fortune cookie.”

Earlier in the week, T.I. told The Root  that he was “actively looking for another female rapper who can undo the blunder of Iggy Azalea.”

“That is the tarnish of my legacy as far as [being] a [music] executive is concerned," said the Atlanta native. “To me, this is like when Michael Jordan went to play baseball.”

Azalea signed to Grand Hustle in 2011, but severed ties with the imprint around 2015. In 2017, Azalea left Def Jam for neighboring Island Records, before going independent. The “Sally Walker” rapper released her sophomore studio album, In My Defense, over the summer.

Continue Reading
Frazer Harrison

Wale Says Record Deals Should Include Mental Health Assistance

Mental health is an issue that record labels should be prioritizing, as Wale explained in an interview with TMZ Live on Friday (Oct. 11). The DMV rapper, who has been open about batting anxiety and depression, and released his Wow That’s Crazy album, during Mental Health Awareness Week, says signing a record deal should come with mental health assistance.

“People live their life for this, and lose their life because of it,” Wale said while discussing the perils of fame. “All of your failures are magnified by 100 because everybody’s watching you.”

The Grammy-nominated recording artist thinks labels should pay for mental health treatment, or have someone on deck to help artists unpack what they’re going through. “Artists generate so much revenue, that’s the least they [labels] can do.”

Wale also noted the difficulty of living life under a microscope, and how coming into money at a young age can be traumatic. “There needs to be a relationship between the mental health agenda and entertainers,” he reiterated. “It doesn’t have to be mandatory but I definitely think they [record labels] should help.”

Watch the full interview below.

Continue Reading

Top Stories