Ellen DeGeneres Surprises New York Tech Alum Azel Prather (B.F.A. ’13)

February 21, 2020

Ellen DeGeneres surprised Azel Prather, Jr. (B.F.A. ’13), a teacher at KIPP DC: Art and Technology Academy in Washington D.C., and founder of the Prather Foundation, with a new Hyundai Sonata and a $20,000 donation for his organization on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

After learning that many of his students couldn’t afford a haircut, Prather decided to take them on a day of pampering. He reached out to local hairstylists, barbers, and nail technicians, who embraced his idea.

DeGeneres was so impressed with his generosity that she invited him on her show. “A lot of my parents may work multiple jobs, they don’t have the time to get their hair done, or their nails and their hair cut,” Prather explained. “Sometimes, they may not have the money or the resources. I just wanted to find a way where I could bring that to them.”

During the segment, Prather and DeGeneres spoke about his work at the school as well as his foundation, whose mission is to provide a nurturing and safe environment, where children can embrace their identity and reach their fullest potential.

DeGeneres told viewers that instead of fixing his car, Prather spent $7,000 to open the Prather Foundation and surprised him with the car and the donation. “I knew by doing it, I would be able to reach more people, and more people would be able to help me out and donate,” Prather said of staring the organization. “You do what you have to do.”

Watch a clip of Prather on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.