Ludacris made a recent appearance on The Ellen Show to surprise Jay’Aina “Jay Jay” Patton and her father Antoine, the father-daughter duo behind the Photo Patch Foundation. Together, they built an app that allows kids to send photos and letters to their parents in prison, with the organization helping 70,000 families send over a million photos to date.
With Antoine spending seven years behind bars when Jay Jay was just three years old, the foundation’s purpose hits close to home. In fact, Antoine learned to code in jail and passed the knowledge onto his daughter when he got out. Jay Jay’s success with the Photo Patch Foundation has encouraged her to help more Black women get into the tech industry.
“Right now, I’m on a mission to help 10,000 girls of color get into the world of tech and start their career path,” she said. “Just for me, there’s not much representation of people who look like me in the world of tech and I know other little girls want to get into this world, but they don’t see that they can do it.
“So, I want to be that guide and help them do it and just start them off with their career. We actually have a scholarship fund as well that we’re raising awareness for to help these women and girls start their career and just let them know that they can do.”
Ellen Degeneres surprised the pair by bringing Ludacris onto the stage to praise their efforts and present a $10,000 check.
“I love what you guys are doing, absolutely love what you’re doing,” he said. “I have family members that are incarcerated – all they ever ask for are pictures. You guys are connecting the world. I have my own foundation that helps facilitate dreams for young ladies like yourself.
“I came here personally because I want to donate $10,000 to what you’re doing. This is from my foundation, the Ludacris Foundation, to you guys. Continue striving, continue doing everywhere you’re doing. You are the future, 100 percent.”
Ludacris’ donation was then matched by Ellen, bringing their combined donations to $20,000.