Mari Copeny, better known as Little Miss Flint, is the 14-year-old advocate for environmental justice who has demonstrated more social commitment than people three times her age. Her effort and energy will be celebrated at this year’s Billboard Music Awards, as she will be the recipient of the Changemaker Award.
Taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 15, the celebration will air live coast-to-coast on NBC and finds Sean “Diddy” Combs as its host. Little Miss Flint has consistently championed efforts in bringing attention to the water crisis in her hometown of Flint, Mich., and will be the third recipient of the Changemaker Award, following rapper, actor, and activist Killer Mike and rapper and record executive Trae Tha Truth. This honor is given to pop culture figures who speak truth to power through their commitment to individual action and leadership. The award was introduced two years ago at the BBMAs in 2020, amid the national reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.
“I’m excited to be honored by the Billboard Music Awards for my community efforts and commitment to highlighting America’s water issues,” said Mari. “I’m hopeful that this inspires others to fight for what’s right, even when no one else is looking.”
Mari has her own website, on which she describes herself as a “Philanthropist. Activist. Future President.”
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Her work in Flint and within the Black community has led to successful crowdfunding campaigns that have raised more than $250,000 and distributed more than a million water bottles to Flint residents. In fact, to date, she has raised more than $600,000 for her Flint Kids projects, which include giving out more than 17,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies, hosting community movie screenings, and arranging annual holiday events to deliver thousands of toys.
As the youngest delegate ever to the U.S. Delegation to the 65th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Mari has partnered with water filter company Hydroviv to donate and distribute her very own high-capacity lead-removal filters to families and child-centric organizations in Flint.
Ambitious and blessed with foresight, Mari plans to run for president in 2044 and has a proclamation that gives light to what’s been currently a dark situation. “My generation will fix this government mess,” she says. “Watch us.”
The BBMAs will broadcast live coast-to-coast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC and will stream live on Peacock.