Photo Credit: Chance the Rapper/Instagram

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week if you haven’t noticed. The chances are you likely missed it since covid19 has been sucking all the air out of the news these days. Given how parents have been stuck at home tasked with teaching their children, every other commercial on television should be honoring those whose jobs they’re temporarily filling now that they see how difficult it really is.

Well Chance the Rapper is making sure the teachers out there are getting recognized for all their hard work. Partnering with Boxtops for Education he’s holding the first annual The Twilight Awards but all on Instagram Live since, y’know… coronavirus and what not. Three to four teachers a night will be honored Wednesday night, May 6th through Friday night, May 8th at 8 pm EST. He’s going live at 7 pm EST each night giving away $300,000 which definitely beats the traditional apple as a gift.

“Even though schools look a little different right now, teachers are still at the heart of how our children learn,” says Lilly Moeding, brand experience manager for Box Tops for Education, in a press statement. “That’s why we’re so excited to partner with Chance the Rapper for this special awards show to recognize teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week and beyond for everything they do for our kids and our communities.”

The entire idea and concept was discussed in a phone interview with Billboard where he explained why he decided to do this now in the middle of a pandemic of all times. “I think it’s a few things coming together. One is mostly circumstance. Like I was explaining about spending much more time with my oldest really gave me a full representation, or better representation, of how much time our kids stay with other people — and are being taught, guided and watched after by teachers who have, what I consider to be, probably the most important job in our country. And I think for one, my appreciation for teachers got even deeper after the start of this quarantine.

But also, the opportunity came to work with Box Tops for Education, which is a General Mills organization that honors teachers. The opportunity came to work with them in January of this year, way before I knew the novel coronavirus was going to be so impactful… We were looking for a way to collaborate and we had talked about them funding the Twilight Awards, and it just became easier once everybody kind of went into this stay-at-home rule.

Once everybody had to stay at home, I think a lot of, most projects, I would say 90% of projects that didn’t get forced into it, they became a live stream, live-from-home project. And it just felt right to still carry on — because, well, for one, teachers are tasked to completely change and adapt to this time faster than a lot of other people have had to. You mentioned that class hasn’t been in session for a while, but really it’s just the classrooms haven’t been. A lot of teachers are having to do remote learning or remote teaching, helping their students’ parents come up with at-home activities and lesson plans.”

As far as what the future of the award show will look like, he said, “I think the initial idea was modeled after some of the more campy, cool, kooky award shows that are heavily based on musical numbers and comedic hosts and everybody that shows up. And I think that’s still the plan going forward. I think one thing that they mentioned as important is: Things are changing, and it’s not necessarily that it’s a temporary change. We don’t know how lasting the effects of this [coronavirus] are going to be.

But I think the idea even of live is something that’s been rejuvenated by this whole circumstance. Live award shows usually still include a bunch of pre-taped pieces to it, and also some sort of delay with network involvement of, ‘Oh no, did he really just say that ’cause the feed?’ But when it’s like on our own channel, there’s a lot more just overall improvisation to it and overall danger [Laughs.] Which is the coolest part of live TV or live anything.

The eventual real launch of the Twilight Awards hopefully would be as grand as the idea was in its inception. But I think this way is really cool because it’s so direct — directly affecting the teachers with cash prizes, and directly affecting their schools and allowing me one-on-one time to just interview these teachers, or any of my friends that have stories about their teachers or their students. I feel like it would be different once it’s a really big produced show, so I think it’s cool that we have this phase of it.”

As usual, Chance wins our humanitarian artist award because he does more communitywise in place of time he could be making money all the time. And let’s not forget him choosing to remain independent offering albums for free. That’s amazing.