ST. ALBANS, Queens — Rapper LL Cool J will definitely be remembered for much more than his iconic verses.
The Queens native, who joined students at his annual summer camp on Saturday, told PIX11 about the importance of giving back while sitting courtside at the Daniel M. O’Connell Playground in St. Albans.
“It’s an amazing feeling to just be able to do this for my community where I grew up…all of the kids represent me in some way, shape or form,” LL Cool J said.
The Grammy-winning artist, born James Todd Smith, said he has no current plans of running for office, despite calls from community members who believe he’d be a great candidate.
“I’m not even thinking about politics…I’m thinking about what matters socially. Right now, I just want the kids to have the same shot I had,” LL Cool J shared with PIX11.
During a weekend basketball game for his 14th annual “Jump and Ball” camp, the “Lip Sync Battle” Host and producer also reflected on the life of his friend, late singer Aretha Franklin.
He described the “Queen of Soul” as someone whose “legacy will be the feeling that her music gave people.”
While LL Cool J believes his legacy is “still being written,” there’s no doubt that he’s helping create a better future for the youth in his community.
The free community program hosts hundreds of students and runs every weekend in August. Under the direction of counselors, youth ranging from ages 8 to 17 in Southeast Queens compete in basketball games and engage in other activities.
Alivia Hough, 10, participated in this year’s camp alongside her cousin. The upcoming sixth grade student is an aspiring singer who enjoyed the camp and plans on returning next year.
“I felt like I was a superstar being around a superstar,” Hough said.
For more information on the program, visit www.llcooljjumpandball.com.