Controversial rap singer-actor Ice Cube and his manager have donated $21,751 to fund a summer camp for boys at a Baltimore elementary school that has done extensive work with young black males.
But the gift, to Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in West Baltimore, drew little notice at last night's school board meeting, where it was one in a string of routine gifts and donations.
The 23-year-old Ice Cube, whose real name is O'Shea Jackson, is one of a group of young rap artists who mix music with often-angry politicalcommentary on subjects that include racism, police brutality and black empowerment.
He drew favorable critical notices last summer for his screen role in John Singleton's urban drama, "Boyz N the Hood."
But he ignited a nationwide protest last November with the song "Black Korea," denounced as racist by Korean-American merchants who urged a boycott of St. Ives beer, advertised by the singer.
The contribution to Robert W. Coleman Elementary is his second to the inner-city Baltimore school. Last summer, he directed a $7,5000 contribution to the school that paid for half of the summer camp program.
In an interview with the rap magazine The Source, Ice Cube said the money he made from those commercials paved the way for donations.
"I'm ...making them give money to where they would't give it any other way," he said in the interview. "I think the St. Ides commerical is contributing more to things that we need to be focusing on."
Robert W. Coleman, the school receiving his latest contribution, is in a low-income, drug-ridden area of West Baltimore.
The school has participated in a number of programs aimed at helping young black boys, who often lack positive male role models.