Born and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, J. Cole has been the Tar Heel state’s rapper for years.
He's known around UNC’s campus for performing at the Homecoming concert in 2012 and more recently for attending basketball games and hanging out with Roy and the boys in the locker room after the game.
From courtside seats at the Dean Dome to the big screen, students flock whenever there is a chance to snap a picture or submerge themselves in J. Cole culture.
The Residence Hall Association and HBO are partnering and bringing a piece of J. Cole to UNC’s campus by presenting J. Cole’s documentary, “4 Your Eyez Only” on Tuesday.
Taylor Bates, president of RHA and senior from Nashville, Tennessee, has been excited about the partnership with HBO and getting the documentary screened on campus.
“I think the fact that he’s from North Carolina really helps a lot of us connect with him, and also, just the message that he tries to spread with his music,” Bates said. “I mean, he’s got a greater message behind what he’s rapping about and with this new documentary, he’s really trying to connect his music with the community he represents as well.”
Sophomore Kelsey Blankenship was one of the lucky students who got past security, with J. Cole’s help, at the 2015 Maryland vs. UNC basketball game and met the famous rapper courtside.
“After making my way through the crowd, J. Cole stepped up and made sure that I got my picture,” Blankenship said. “He told his security that it was fine and that I could take my picture.”
Blankenship’s love for J. Cole doesn't only stem from sharing a love of basketball, but also from his music and what he stands for.
“He's truthful, and his songs hold a lot of meaning to them,” Blankenship said. “He focuses on life, the struggles of life and overcoming those struggles.”
Senior Karen Cheng currently has friends involved with RHA and was formerly involved with RHA herself. She served as the internal affairs officer for two years but is now sitting back and enjoying the events put on by RHA.
“I know that J. Cole is kind of from the area, and he’s a very humble person,” Cheng said. “I’m kind of excited to see his story and watch the documentary, but also yeah, I’d like to support my friend because he’s worked really hard on the event.”
She said the partnership between RHA and HBO has allowed for this event to grow and be larger than previous events have been.
“This is the first time they’ve screened a full-length movie; they’ve done some like shows before and so I think this is a kind of larger event,” Cheng said.
The length of the film being presented is not the only incentive for students to attend and promote the event.
RHA and HBO are promoting a social media competition revolving around the showing of Cole’s documentary, “4 Your Eyez Only.” By posting on Facebook or Instagram about the event and including "J Cole 4 Your Eyez Only Documentary Screening - April 18th @ 8:00pm in the Union Auditorium #HBOCollege ", students have the chance to win a free ticket to any J. Cole concert of their choosing on the national tour: "4 Your Eyez Only," financed by HBO.
No matter the occasion, students get excited when J. Cole is on campus or featured on campus.
Senior Saarah Khan has been a fan of J. Cole for years and loves the support that he receives from North Carolina.
“I always think it’s really amazing to see someone who comes from maybe a similar background as you or came from your hometown who’s made it,” Khan said.
“He’s not living that Hollywood life; he’s very down to earth and does a lot of humanitarian work. I just think that he’s a very unique person who’s reached stardom, and he’s managed to truly keep it real throughout everything.”
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