Coming into the evening, everyone knew Chance the Rapper was set to receive the Humanitarian Award at the 2017 BET Awards, a tremendous honor and an unprecedented one for someone his age. But no one was really prepared for how they’d give him the award, including Chance himself.
After some introductions of Chance’s charitable work in his hometown of Chicago by BET chairman Debra Lee, a couple video tributes were played to honor Chance. The first was narrated by fellow Chicago rapper Common, documenting and celebrating his work, but the second video was a surprise from one of the most recognizable faces in the world—former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Obama, who saw first hand the type of impact Chance was able to make, saluted his work as both a peer and a friend, applauding him for everything he has done at just 24 years old. Chance was clearly taken aback by the gesture, but he quickly recovered and went off the cuff with his acceptance speech.
“To be receiving something like this at my age, it feels good as hell,” he said. “It feels a little early to get something like this, but my God doesn’t make mistakes. I like to think he’s putting enormous pressure on me to see how I react.”
Chance would go on to highlight a number of important causes—harsh sentencing practices for non-violent offenders, predatory loans, and a whole lot more—that are near and dear to his heart, and expressed a desire to expand his humanitarian work beyond Chicago to around the world.
You can see the full presentation in the video up top, in addition to the acceptance speech he made when he won Best New Artist below.