National Catholic Register

Education

Rapper’s Gift Saves Church School

BY Jim Cosgrove

March 28 - April 3, 1999 Issue | Posted 3/28/99 at 2:00 PM

 

NEW ORLEANS — An entertainment mogul who built his fortune on “gangsta rap” has stepped forward to save his dying Catholic elementary school.

Percy “Master P” Miller, who now reigns as a multimillionaire gangsta rap impresario with interests in movies, clothing and professional sports, has quietly donated $500,000 to St. Monica and two nearby Catholic churches.

Church officials had decided earlier this month to close St. Monica's after 75 years, sending its 125 students a nearby school. Distressed parents were searching for a last option when St. Monica's school board president put in a call to P for help.

“I graduated from St. Monica,” P said. “That school's been in my community all my life, that's the church that I'm committed to.”

Miller, 28, emerged from the B.W. Cooper Housing Development in the early 1990s to become Master P, rap star.

His company, No Limit, is the highest-grossing independent rap label in the nation. Last year, Forbes magazine ranked P tenth on its list of highest-paid entertainers, ahead of Celine Dion and Garth Brooks, with an estimated income of $56 million.

While Archdiocese of New Orleans officials were initially concerned about accepting a gift from a rapper, Auxiliary Bishop Gregory Aymond said he spoke directly with Master P and was assured by him that his days as a solo rap artist were over. However, his core business, the No Limit label, is still founded on rap music.

“He kept saying ‘I love my Church,’ said Bishop Aymond. I want my kids to have opportunities I didn't have.”

St. Monica's school educates students who are overwhelmingly black and poor, coming from families paying tuitions ranging from $1,400 to $1,700 per year, officials said.