Rapper-turned-philanthropist French Montana made a generous donation of 500 canoes to the community of Makoko, an impoverished community built on top of coastal waters in Yaba, Lagos Mainland. Makoko served as the site location for Montana’s latest music video “Wish U Well”. His decision to employ local craftsmen in his donation of 500 canoes will boost the local economy and support the livelihood of the community members.
This continues Montana’s journey of giving back to communities in need after deeply connecting with the people, the culture, and understanding what is necessary to support the local ecosystem. Six years ago in Uganda, alongside the release of the diamond record “Unforgettable,” Montana embarked on a vision with the local community while filming the music video with Swae Lee to build the Suubi Health Center. His financial contributions, matched by others, opened the door to maternal healthcare for thousands of underserved mothers, women, and children across 55 remote villages accomplished in partnership with Global Citizen and Mama Hope. This still rings true today as Montana continues his global humanitarian and advocacy efforts giving back to those that don’t have the proper funding or resources.
Makoko serves as the backdrop for the “Wish U Well” music video, capturing the resilient spirit and vibrant culture that thrives within the city. The visuals serve as a love letter to Makoko for Montana and Swae, who spent time together there learning about the way of life and connecting with the people. But looking beyond its captivating visuals and resonant lyrics, the release of “Wish U Well” marks the catalyst for a groundbreaking philanthropic initiative that underscores Montana’s unwavering commitment to driving positive change.
Montana’s impact resonates profoundly as he collaborates with Swae Lee, gamma., and SALXCO to donate 500 wooden canoe boats to a community of 200,000 people who are endangered by critical flooding threats on a regular basis. Makoko, a suburb in Lagos, Nigeria, was once a vibrant “fishermen’s village” with homes built on stilts along the Lagos Lagoon, but now the community faces significant challenges due to pollution and sewage drainage complications. The lack of adequate sanitation systems adds to the challenging situation, but amidst these hardships, innovative projects are emerging to revitalize the community and strengthen its ability to cope with the impacts of climate change. To ensure the success of this initiative, the partners have outlined a clear plan with Montana at the helm: The large financial contribution for the project will fund the production of the 500 boats. With a production rate of approximately 6 boats per week, per contractor, the delivery of all 500 boats is projected to conclude within four months, by December, just in time for Christmas.
“I witnessed firsthand how water is both a lifeline and an obstacle in Makoko. These boats are essential tools transporting the residents of Makoko and goods and services,” said Montana. “As an immigrant from Morocco, giving back to communities in Africa, the place that raised me is so important. When I was filming, I met local leaders who talked about the daily struggles and aspirations of the wider community. I was moved by their spirit and positivity, which inspired me to get involved and to help impact change.”
Earlier this summer, Montana announced a partnership with “gamma.”, a multimedia platform that prioritizes artists, offering a range of creative and business services spanning various artistic and commercial mediums. In conjunction with the partnership came the release of Montana’s latest single and video for “Good Summer”, which blends the timeless allure of Wayne Wonder’s iconic hit “No Letting Go” with the irresistible groove of Nuskie’s “New Orleans Bounce.”
Watch the video below!