The hip-hop artist has used music to draw attention to the plight of child soldiers, a life he knows well. Jal was born in war-torn Sudan and conscripted to be a soldier as a young boy after trying to cross into Ethiopia for a chance at an education. He eventually escaped and was adopted by British aid worker Emma McClune, who was killed shortly after taking him in, but not before smuggling him to Kenya. After a tumultuous childhood that involved time spent struggling to survive in slums, he began recording music and speaking about the need for peace and prosperity in Africa. He opens up about his experience in the song “War Child” and in a documentary by the same name that received acclaim on the film circuit, including at the renowned Tribeca Film Festival. “I believe I’ve survived for a reason, to tell my story, to touch lives,” he raps. In addition to his music, Jal founded a charity that offers scholarships to Sudanese war refugees.