Armando Pérez, aka Pitbull, celebrated his 34th birthday with balloons, hundreds of schoolchildren and Florida’s top dignitaries during a celebration announcing the expansion of SLAM! (Sports Leadership and Management Academy), the Miami charter school for which he’s an ambassador.
“Martin Luther King and I share the same birthday!” said an excited Pitbull, speaking to kids grades 6-12 at the crowded seventh-floor gym overlooking the Marlins’ stadium. “I want you to understand the opportunities the United States of America has to offer,” added Pitbull, alluding to the fact that he had been born nearby in this less-than-privileged neighborhood. “I look at your faces and I can see me. When you’re looking at me you’re looking at the American dream. When I look at you I see the American dream.”
Pitbull shared the gymnasium stage with state and local dignitaries, including Florida governor Rick Scott and Miami mayor Tomas Regalado, who gave him the key to the city of Miami and declared it Armando Perez Day.
SLAM!’s truly impressive troupe of dancers and cheerleaders also performed to Pitbull’s music.
SLAM! Is a public charter school that opened its doors in Miami in 2013 with Pitbull as its ambassador and public face. The school is expanding to a second building connected by an elevated bridge.