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From the Projects to a Penthouse  was originally published on

1. Mos Def

Mos Def

Mos Def grew up in the Eleanor Roosevelt Houses in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn neighborhood.

2. Lil Kim

Lil Kim

At eight years old, Kim’s mom left her abusive father and lived out of the trunk of their car.

3. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah spent her early childhood living with her grandmother on a farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She is now worth a reported $2B.

4. Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

As a child, Cosby lived in Richard Allen Homes housing project. Many of the characters in Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids were modeled after people he knew.

5. Mr. T

Mr. T

Laurence Tureaud spent his childhood living in the Robert Taylor Homes housing project. He was discovered during a bouncer competition and giving a role in the ‘Rocky’ film.