Screen shot of LL Cool J and Charles Phillips


Students Talk About Social Change with LL Cool J

December 7, 2020

Pictured from left: Charles Phillips speaks with LL Cool J at a virtual discussion hosted by The Economic Club of New York.

On December 1, seven New York Institute of Technology students sat in on The Economic Club of New York’s virtual discussion featuring entertainment icon and entrepreneur LL Cool J. The discussion, moderated by Charles Phillips, trustee of the Economic Club of New York and managing partner and founder of Recognize, focused on the country’s recent conversations around racial injustice and how these dialogues can help bring about needed change.  

“I am really glad that I could participate,” said Naeemah Robert, an electrical and computer engineering major. “LL Cool J has a great story from his music career to his acting career. He believes that we should make a connection, start a conversation with each other to continue making progress in reducing racial injustice. I couldn’t agree more.”

LL Cool J also spoke to Phillips about his career and work as the founder and CEO of Rock the Bells, the preeminent voice for classic and timeless hip-hop. LL Cool J founded Rock the Bells in 2018. It focuses on content, commerce, and experiences that honor the culture and core of classic hip-hop, including MCs, DJs, break dancers, and graffiti artists. With an entertainment career spanning three decades, LL COOL J’s impressive body of work includes the successful SiriusXM channel “LL COOL J’s Rock The Bells Radio,” 10 platinum-plus selling albums, numerous TV and film roles, and author of a New York Times best-selling book. The first rapper to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, LL Cool J is also a two-time Grammy® Award winner as well as a recipient of a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for best supporting actor and an NAACP Image Award winner.

“I was hoping to learn more about what LL Cool J is involved in, how he is giving back to the community, and how he is successfully managing Rock the Bells,” said Mohammad Tariq Jamal (B.S.’18), a master’s candidate in communication arts. “Additionally, I wanted to learn some tips on how to be as successful as he is and how he overcame obstacles.”

The students’ seats were sponsored by Kevin Silva, chairperson of the New York Institute of Technology board of trustees.