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Drake makes surprise visit to campus to present scholarship, perform

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Superstar rapper Drake stands on the third floor patio of the Shalala Student Center while filming a music video for his record, "God's Plan" Monday Feb. 5. Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

Between a $50,000 scholarship for a University of Miami student, a $10,000 donation to a Frost School of Music outreach program and a surprise campus performance to film a music video, Drake is way “too good” to the U. Around 3:45 p.m. Feb. 5, students began gathering on the second floor of the Shalala Student Center. Hip hop superstar Drake was rumored to be on campus, and students were abuzz with the possibility.

By 4:15 p.m., the first two floors of the SSC were almost completely filled before students were directed by police to clear the building unless they were studying, and crowds filled out by the Lakeside Patio stage area.

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Cash Money Records employees displayed signs with consent statements in and around the SC on the afternoon of Feb. 5. Photo credit: Annie Cappetta

Representatives from Cash Money Records patrolled the area with signs stating students in the vicinity were consenting to be filmed. Hundreds of students and staff with production equipment had gathered by around 4:30 p.m.

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Drake is spotted by the SC early in the afternoon on Feb. 5. Photo courtesy Demi Rafuls.

A representative from Cash Money Records confirmed Drake was on campus and would be granting a scholarship to a student and filming part of a music video.

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Drake greets James to present scholarship award. Photo courtesy Daniela Calderon.

The $50,000 scholarship was granted to student Destiny James, who is a junior studying public health. James could not be immediately reached for comment.

Milind Khurana, a junior studying neuroscience and political science, has been friends with James since their freshman year.

“She deserves it; she’s one of the nicest people I know,” said Khurana, mentioning that James is involved with United Black Students. “She works really hard.”

Drake also made a $10,000 donation to the Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program. MusicReach is a program through the Frost School of Music that pairs underserved students in nearby communities with Frost students as music teachers and mentors.

WPLG reported that Drake earlier surprised students at Miami Senior High School with a $25,000 check to go to the school and an announcement that he would design and supply new uniforms for the students. It also reported that he filmed part of the music video for his single “God’s Plan” at the school.

Around 5:20 p.m., Drake began performing from his single “God’s Plan” on the Moss Terrace on the third floor of the SC. In addition to cameras filming his performance in the SSC, there was also footage taken of the crowds gathered around the SSC and the patio.

Drake was seen by students inside the SSC walking across the third floor after his performance on the Moss Terrace, sporting a University of Miami sweatshirt. During the filming, he threw up his hands in the U multiple times.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” Drake said at the end of his performance. “I’ve been to a lot of places in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a more turnt school than this. I wish you all the best in life, a lot of love, a lot of happiness for you, your friends and your family.”

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Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

Chazz Guerra-Ogiste, a senior motion pictures and theater major, said he has been a fan since before “So Far Gone,” Drake’s 2009 mixtape.

“I was just like, ‘Yo, it’s crazy how people get over one man,’” Guerra-Ogiste said. “Drake was playing a dangerous game … I think if anybody else wants to do this, they can come by.”

And people did go “crazy.” Some went to extreme lengths to get the best view or even meet Drake up close. Students reportedly climbed on the roof of the food court and were told by staff to come down.

Audrey Jongens, a sophomore psychology major, found herself involved in a more complicated scheme to get a close meeting with Drake. She tried to find her way to the third floor but, after facing several security guards, found herself talking to a Starbucks employee who was poking her head out from the bottom of the emergency exit stairs.

The employee told Jongens that Drake would be coming out of the service elevator nearby. Jongens hid behind some boxes in the back of the Starbucks kitchen and waited for about 25 minutes. She asked a Starbucks employee if she could wear one of their aprons. When Drake came out of the elevator, Jongens sprinted to him and asked for a photo with him and some of the Starbucks workers. He then gave her a hug.

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Jongens (left) sports a borrowed Starbucks apron to blend in for a chance to meet Drake after his performance on Feb. 5. Photo courtesy Ashley Jongens.

At 5:43 p.m., Drake entered a vehicle that had been parked behind the SSC for the duration of his time on campus. As the vehicle pulled away with Drake inside, a crowd gathered around Miller Drive to try to catch last glimpses, while other students dispersed.

Staff of The Miami Hurricane contributed to reporting.

Correction, Feb. 7 2018: This article previously stated James was studying biology, pre-dentistry according to her Facebook profile. The information on her profile was incorrect and the story has been updated to reflect that her major is public health.

February 5, 2018

Reporters

Annie Cappetta

Annie Cappetta can be reached on Twitter at @acmcappetta and via email at acmcappetta@gmail.com


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