Chance the Rapper has a few surprises in store for educators across the nation in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.
The Grammy-award winning artist is hosting his very own virtual award show, dubbed "The Twilight Awards," on his Instagram channel to surprise 10 teachers from schools in the U.S. and recognize them for their work.
He will also donate $300,000 to these teachers and their schools through his partnership with Box Tops for Education.
A show recognizing teachers and shining a light on their efforts is something the Chicago-born rapper dreamed up in 2017.
"The overall idea came from trying to sort of give people understanding of the gravity and importance of teachers and how they are truly -- I'm trying to say it in the least poetic way possible -- but they're really heroes and superstars," the rapper said in an interview with "Good Morning America."
"When you're growing up, every artist wants to do the Grammys, to do the Super Bowl and Saturday Night Live, but everybody -- I mean everybody -- wants to do 'Sesame Street,'" he continued.
"It's because when you're a kid, you create these memories that stick with you forever," he continued. "If you're lucky enough to be like a Stevie Wonder or a Savion Glover, Ray Charles or Little Richard -- there's so many artists that were on 'Sesame Street' and taught hundreds of thousands of kids how to count or how to spell a certain word or something -- that memory sticks with them forever."
He said the same goes with the work teachers do for children.
"We remember who the starting five of the Lakers are, who had the No. 1 album of the year for the longest and who taught us our multiplication when we were in second grade," he said. "The true superstars are the people that stick with you, and that's what teachers do."
The award show was named in honor of American educator Alexander Twilight, who was the first black man known to graduate from an American college and the first black man to serve in a state legislature.
"When we first started working with Chicago Public Schools, we were going to bat for the black and brown students and black and brown teachers and principals and staff at the schools ... we wanted to sort of inject some history into what we were creating and representing," the rapper said on the tribute.
Chance says the education he received growing up led him to devote his platform to bettering education for kids, particularly the underrepresented, and to supporting children in the arts.
He donated $1 million to Chicago public schools in 2017 and his nonprofit, SocialWorks, supports initiatives promoting youth education. The five areas the organization focuses on include education, homelessness, performing arts, mental health and literary arts."I didn't have the best educational experience. I felt like I was kind of written off by some of my teachers, but it caused me to have a greater appreciation for the ones that stuck with me," Chance explained.
"When I could've slipped through the cracks or gotten held back a grade or kicked out of school or any number of things, there was quite a few teachers in my grade school and high school experience that kept me on track and advocated for me," he said.
The artist said he later realized just how much improvement can be made to the Chicago school system.
"It wasn't until after I got out of high school that I really understood the disparity in the education that I received going to a more prestigious school downtown in Chicago versus my neighborhood school and saw the difference in the trajectory of the lives of mine and some of my friends that grew up and went to the neighborhood schools by my house," he said.
"That was a causation for me to go and work with the Chicago Public School System and focus on the funding formulas -- kind of being an equity for kids that were from my neighborhood and for some of the black and brown neighborhoods in Chicago."
The artist put that goal into practice with one of Socialworks' initiatives, The New Chance Fund, launched in 2017, that gives $100,000 to 20 schools in the Chicago Public School system.
"Through the grant process we work directly with the principals ... we would go into the schools and come up with a real plan for how to affect these schools for three years and sustain after those three years," he said about the grant program.
"In doing that, we got to work one on one with about 60 principals and hundreds of teachers over the past three years, and that specifically led me to understand how much these teachers go to bat for their kids, how much of their own money they spend on their students, how many hours they put in and how underserved they are," he added.
He believes the upcoming "Twilight Awards" is something that will benefit teachers directly. It was originally slated for 2021 or 2022, but the artist worked with Box Tops for Education and General Mills to put the virtual experience into action sooner.
"We were all at the same time put on pause by the current global pandemic and instead of just scrapping ideas, saying we'll talk at the beginning of next year, we were like what if we did a live stream and gave out cash prizes to the teachers," Chance said.
The rapper says, like many others, his appreciation for teachers has increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think I've started to relearn the importance of teachers just in my own personal life in having way more time with my kids since they've been out of school," he said. "It just grants you an extended appreciation for the people that watch and sort of help raise our kids."
The broadcasts will air at 8 p.m. EST on May 6, 7 and 8, 2020.