Remy Ma Visits NYU to Talk Overcoming Challenges & Rebuilding Her Brand After Prison Sentence

Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Remy Ma attends Breaking Boundaries presented by Women On The Move And HerSource With NYU & OBW at NYU on March 30, 2017 in New York City.

On Thursday, Remy Ma visited NYU to speak to some students about the challenges she faced in her life and how she overcame them, joining a panel of three other black female innovators -- digital marketing strategist Karen Civil, fashion blogger Claire Sulmers, and The Read podcast co-host Crissle West -- who are trailblazing and breaking boundaries in their respective media industries. The event was held by the school's Organization of Black Women (OBW), as part of their annual Women on the Move event. 

Remy greeted attendees as her song "All the Way Up" played, making Bronx natives excited to see their "Bronx Savior." The rapper told the audience that during four years of her six-year prison sentence, she took college courses taught by volunteer professors, earning her associate degree in sociology. The femcee reflected on how she had to stay cautious after her release from prison and how she built up her brand to avoid falling to a similar fate as other incarcerated peers. She finished her advice by saying "everyone's story is not your story."

Audience members were in awe of Remy's dedication to staying on top. She explained how she accepted many free gigs and recorded new music for free to get back out in the scene that almost forgot about her. She called it "outwork[ing] the competition." The "Money Showers" MC had some funny moments as well. When Sulmers made an analogy about going up against people standing in the way of reaching personal goals, she quickly had to clarify, "I don't recommend cutting somebody." At that moment Remy made a face indicating otherwise prompting the audience to erupt in laughter.

The rapper was joined by husband and fellow rapper Papoose, who was sitting in the audience. She made note of how she used her leading spot on Love and Hip Hop New York to promote true "black love" and positive images of family, instead of the usual debauchery that takes place on the reality show. Remy also expressed gratitude toward her entourage and those she's met in the past, explaining that she never takes them for granted. 

At the end of the discussion, OBW presented Remy Ma with a special honor for "breaking barriers." The award is usually given to the panelist who has pushed the hardest to make a difference. The rapper was shocked, because she had received a similar type of award when visiting a school in Miami a few weeks prior. "It's weird to receive these awards, because I've always been different," Remy said while holding the trophy. "I love being me." She then joked: "[This] is the cherry on the cake. I was at Chick-Fil-A 45 minutes ago, and now this!"