Kendrick Lamar Pays It Forward Through Mentorship With President Obama
Building upon his "Hard Work" video from last month, Kendrick Lamar has released "Pay It Forward," a short clip that pairs scenes from "Hard Work" with images of Lamar with President Barack Obama in the White House Oval Office to make a case for the power of mentorship.
While "Hard Work" had previously seemed like a promotional or 'for your consideration' video, the scenes of Lamar playing basketball and walking with a younger fan prove to get to the root of his message, that mentorship can have a profound impact.
In the clip, Lamar can be heard narrating the following, "As a kid, having a mentor was vital to me. Always being there when it counted allowed me to make some of the most important decisions when growing up. So it's only right that I mentor a younger person with the same wisdom that was given to me. If it helps the next kid become a better person in life, I will forever be aware of my influence and pay it forward. I look where I’m at today and realize that most of my success is owed to the mentors that were in my life"
"I sat down with President Barack Obama and shared the same views. Topics concurring the inner cities, the problem, the solutions, and further more embracing the youth. Both being aware that mentoring saves lives. Sometimes I reflect and think back where would I be if I didn’t have the presence of an older acquaintance telling me what's right and what's wrong. Telling me the pros and cons of every move I was about to make. Telling me the best way to plan success for my future."
At the end, he encourages involvement with My Brother's Keeper and becoming a mentor in real life. The narration is vaguely reminiscent of a refrain used on Lamar's 2015 To Pimp a Butterfly which goes, "I remember you was conflicted/Misusing your influence/Sometimes I did the same." As for the Oval Office scenes, it was reported Monday (Jan. 11) that Lamar had visited the White House, and here, Kendrick offers his own take on the meeting, painting Obama as a mentor in the process.
As Kendrick gears up for a historic Grammy night on Feb. 15 he may be releasing more videos to remind of the impact and perspective he was able to provide for the past year. Lamar is nominated for 11 Grammy Awards, among them Album of the Year and Song of the Year.