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Student News

Here’s how Lil Wayne helped one student raise the funds to stay at uni

She hasn't quite earned a milli from it, but it's helped Joy fund her studies.

lil wayne student gold necklace

Credit (left): Megan Elice Meadows - Flickr, Credit (right): Warner Bros

A London-based art student struck gold after a friend of US rapper Lil Wayne asked her to make a necklace for the superstar as a birthday present.

Joy Bonfield-Colombara, who works under the name of Joy BC, considered dropping out of the Royal College of Art in London because she was struggling to afford the fees.

That was until she received an email asking her to make a solid gold pendant for Lil Wayne’s 36th birthday.

Joy told the BBC:

I was about to say, ‘No I’m really sort of trying to figure out stuff with school’. Then they said ‘it’s for my friend’s birthday’, and told me who the friend was.

I used to listen to hip hop from a young age. I used to listen to him in the club!

Making the necklace

As well as being a birthday present for Weezy, the necklace was also a gift to mark the release of the rapper's twelfth album, The Carter V.

The process of making the pendant was lengthy, with Joy having to do the hand-carving, casting, filing, soldering and polishing all on her own.

She hand-carved the necklace to be a painstakingly accurate replica of Lil Wayne’s face – including his famous teardrop tattoos, which are represented by diamonds set with white gold.

The pendant, named An Icon by the 29 year old student, is made from solid 18-carat yellow gold and hangs from a gold chain.

Despite the effort required, Joy believes the finished result was worth the effort. Posting on Instagram, she said:

This commissioned piece meant I could stay in school. Forever grateful.

She continued with a lyric from Lil Wayne’s song Don’t Cry: “Can’t control the tears, let them drop and roll.”

How much money did Joy make?

student gold necklace lil wayne gift

Credit: 20th Television

Having struggled to afford her fees, the student and goldsmith had originally set up a GoFundMe page to help find the "close to £10,000" that she needed. Although this managed to raise her £1,500, Joy was still well short of her target.

Then the lucky email arrived.

Joy said that although the commission was for “thousands [of pounds]”, her initial concern was the short space of time in which she had to make the necklace – Lil Wayne's friend asked her to complete it within just a few weeks.

Joy told the BBC:

I phoned by boyfriend and said 'I’m freaking out, I’m freaking out'.

I hand carve everything, it takes me a really long time. One piece I made for someone took nine months.

She also said that her boyfriend warned her not to “do a Ronaldo” on the 18-carat gold necklace.

He was referencing the infamous bronze bust of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, which had been on display at Madeira airport last year but was removed and replaced with one which is widely believed to look more like the Juventus forward.

Joy says she received enough money to help her pay for a “chunk” of her university fees for the year.

Referencing the prominence of the diamond tears on the necklace, she spoke of her pride in the message her work sent out: that of acceptance in men expressing their emotions in public.

Joy told Dazed:

There is a negative stereotype that for a man to cry shows weakness – I seek to reclaim the power that can be harnessed in the simple and often moving act of shedding a tear.

Other unusual part-time jobs

weird part time jobs

If Joy’s story has put you off standard part-time work, why not shop around for more inventive ways to make money at university?

Back your general knowledge abilities? Maybe you could make money on HQ Trivia, just like Clodagh Marston did when she won over £1,300 on the quiz app.

For all you animal lovers, why not get paid to pet sit? You could make up to £40 a day looking after someone else’s pet, and even better, you get to choose your own hours and work load – so no more having choose between lectures and affording dinner.

Or maybe shopping is more your bag? If you tend to turn to retail therapy too often, why not become a mystery shopper? Once again you can choose your own hours and basically get paid to hang out in your favourite spots, with the added possibility of freebies.

If you’re after some very weird ways to make money, you can now become a professional wingman or wingwoman.

Finally, if you’re looking for minimal effort, why not just sell your toilet roll?

Have you ever sold something to a celebrity? Let us know in the comments!

Lucy Skoulding

WRITTEN BY Lucy Skoulding

Lucy Skoulding specialised in student news reporting while writing for Save the Student, sharing the latest data and top stories affecting our readers.
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