Rapper and philanthropist Trae Tha Truth will be the recipient of the Billboard’s Change Maker Award at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, announced dick clark productions and NBC on Thursday (May 13). The Billboard Change Maker Award honors the artist or group that speaks truth to power through their music, celebrity, and community. They are socially conscious, politically aware, active in their community, and charitable with time, money and/or influence to improve the lives of others. Trae is the second recipient to be given this honor. In 2020, Run the Jewels’ own Killer Mike took home the first-ever Billboard Change Maker Award.
“Trae exemplifies what it means to be the change you want to see,” said Billboard Music Awards Consulting Producer and VIBE’s Editor-In-Chief Datwon Thomas. “He is always in a city near you, helping those in need after natural disasters, fighting for justice after tragic events and giving supplies to families to make it to another day. His name, ‘Tha Truth’ fits perfectly with who he is as a community activist and we are honored to celebrate his tireless efforts and giving spirit.”
After Hurricane Harvey hit The Lone Star State in 2017, Trae founded Relief Gang, a program offering direct relief to families in need during major adverse events and unexpected detriments. Since then, the group has assisted people in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and other areas affected by natural disasters.
The Houston native has been a pillar not only within his local community but also in social justice efforts throughout the nation. Trae led a Houston march for justice after the murder of his long-time friend George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. On July 22, 2008, Mayor Bill White established ‘Trae Day’ in recognition of Trae’s philanthropic and social justice work. Every year, ‘Trae Day’ holds a celebratory event that provides local children with face-to-face celebrity interaction, concerts, health screenings, and school supplies, most of which they would not otherwise have access to. He was also one of many activists arrested in Louisville, Kentucky while protesting and demanding the Kentucky Attorney General to charge the police officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor. Since 2009, Trae’s 501c3 nonprofit, Angel By Nature, has donated $1.5 million worth of basic living supplies to more than 20,000 individuals and 7,500 families in need.
In an effort to support the incredible work Trae does through Angel By Nature, the Billboard Music Awards is partnering with him to offer the first-ever official award show non-fungible token (NFT). Beginning BBMAs weekend, fans and the general public will be able to purchase various Trae Tha Truth Change Maker Award NFTs via Bitski for a limited time. Proceeds will be donated to Angel by Nature.
The 2021 Billboard Music Awards will kick off live from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.