Memphis rapper GloRilla surprises alma mater with performance, $25,000 donation

·3 min read

Money long? Check. Right now a Frayser high school is feeling blessed.

Memphis rapper GloRilla, whose given name is Gloria Woods, visited her alma mater, Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School, on Thursday afternoon to surprise students and staff with a performance and a $25,000 donation to the school's seniors and Fine Arts program.

“We are extremely proud of Ms. Woods and thankful for her acts of service, leadership, and fellowship to her community,” Principal Chiquita Perry said. “In light of her talent and success, her generous donation will be used to support the MLK Fine Arts program. There are a lot of talented students like Ms. Woods walking the halls of MLK. This gift will help us support the artistic dreams of our students.

"We are proud of her success, but even more proud that she wants to help other students in her community.”

Memphis rapper GloRilla, whose given name is Gloria Woods, visited her alma mater, Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School Thursday.
Memphis rapper GloRilla, whose given name is Gloria Woods, visited her alma mater, Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School Thursday.

The 22-year-old was excited to be back in the halls she once roamed and to hug familiar faces.

Perry, who was her English teacher in 10th grade, recalls her as a quiet student who kept to herself.

"Quiet until I had something to say," GloRilla said.

The Frayser native said she felt "blessed" to be able to come back to the school in this capacity. While she attended the school, she said she never got to experience a star coming to give back. But now, she fills the role of the person that she hoped to see growing up.

"I want to put more into the music program. Because you know, like, we don't have the platforms. Like a lot of kids we don't get the platform," she said. "It's always from church or from school where you can pursue your dreams."

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GloRilla credits the high school for teaching her discipline, an essential quality that has helped her in her music career.

"I want them to be able to know that anything they put they mind to is possible. Long as they got a dream, then you gotta reach for the stars," she said. "It feels real good to be able to have a platform and be able to come in and help students that come from where I came from."

After the presentation of the Homecoming Court during the school's homecoming pep rally, GloRilla took the stage.

Sitting near the stage, the MLK High cheerleaders' eyes brightened and grew wide as they heard her opening tag "G-to the-L-to the-O, big GloRilla," and they went bar-for-bar with her through the two songs she performed.

After an exciting performance, students and staff cheered even louder when GloRilla presented the $25,000 check, allotting half for senior activities and half for the arts and music program.

Earlier this year, GloRilla became the first woman rapper to sign to fellow Memphis native Yo Gotti's CMG label. She's seen global success with this summer's hit single "Blessed" and the star-studded TikTok smash "F.N.F. (Remix)." She also earned an upcoming remix with Cardi B on “Tomorrow 2” dropping tonight.

GloRilla attended two Frayser Community Schools, Westside Middle and MLK College Prep, and later moved before graduating from Melrose High.

Astrid Kayembe covers South Memphis, Whitehaven and Westwood. She can be reached at astrid.kayembe@commercialappeal.com, (901) 304-7929 or on Twitter @astridkayembe_.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: GloRilla, 'FNF' rapper, gives back to MLK College Prep in Memphis