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A fan jokingly asked Nicki Minaj to pay his tuition. Her response was A+.

One fan's joke sparked some wonderfully unexpected generosity.

A fan jokingly asked Nicki Minaj to pay his tuition. Her response was A+.

"Well you wanna pay for my tuition?" a fan jokingly asked rapper Nicki Minaj on Twitter.

Minaj was promoting a contest on Twitter for a fan to join her at the Billboard Music Awards, and cheekily announcing that she has enough money to fly any fan from any country to the show, when she was hit with the unexpected question.

While the original tweet was about attending the Billboard Music Awards, Minaj's Twitter contest quickly  morphed into something entirely different.

Any fan who could show her they were getting straight As, Minaj would pay their tuition, as long as she could verify it with their school. "Who wants to join THAT contest?!?!" she tweeted. "Dead serious."


Hundreds of requests rolled quickly rolled in, and the 10-time Grammy nominee selected more than a dozen lucky scholars to help.

TMZ was able to confirm reports that at least a few of the payments had already been made. While the request was for students with straight As, it looks like Minaj offered a little leeway there, picking up the tab for some prospective students and others doing their best.

People on Twitter were freaking out over Minaj's outpouring of generosity, and the whole thread was one big gratitude fest.

The plight of student debt in the U.S. is no joke, and that's what makes Minaj's generosity so freakin' goddess-like.

The average student loan debt in the U.S. is more than $30,000 per borrower for 2015 graduates, and 68% of students exit school carrying a loan balance.

Obviously, "find a wealthy celebrity and ask for help" isn't the most reliable way out of debt, but it's awesome to see people in positions of wealth and power using those resources to help others.

Minaj did her student loan giveaway, Chrissy Teigen recently paid off a fan's tuition to beauty school, and Chance the Rapper cut a $1 million check to help floundering Chicago public schools. Celebrities are people too, and some of them really know how to be awesomely generous and empathetic people.

GIF from "Freedom," via Nicki Minaj/YouTube.

Most of us don't have Nicki Minaj-type money laying around, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look for ways to help others. You don't need to be a multimillionaire to make a difference in someone's life (though it sure helps). You just need to have a warm heart and an open mind.

Though Minaj's giveaway came to a close early Sunday morning, she hinted that she might be back some time in the next couple of months for an encore.

If you're one of the tens of millions of Americans with outstanding student loan debt, you might want to give her a follow. Just saying.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less