By Sharee Silerio
Dr. Dre is giving back to his hometown community by pledging $10 million for a new performing arts center at a high school in Compton.
“My goal is to provide kids with the kind of tools and learning they deserve,” he told Variety. “The performing arts center will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future.”
Could this be a response to the backlash of 2013? Was this $10 million donation a part of his philanthropic plan all along?
We probably won’t know for sure, but we do know that four years ago, he received backlash for pledging $35 million to the University of Southern California to help start a program in his and Jimmy Iovine’s name, instead of promising it to a black school or historically black college.
“I feel like this is the biggest, most exciting and probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career,” Dr. Dre told the “New York Times” then.
Everyday people wrote opinion pieces on it, university presidents asked the rapper and producer why he didn’t choose to donate to their institution, and some people were just mad to be mad – about how he spent HIS money.
I understand the beauty and righteousness in giving back to your community and offering people who are where you came from opportunities to build their best lives, but at the same time, we don’t know someone’s whole financial or giving plan. I mean, is it really any of our business?
Plus, why wouldn’t you help an organization build an entire academy that honors you, your work and accomplishments? If you want to have a say in how it’s done, then it makes sense for you to invest in it.
Maybe his goal was to donate to a specific education program instead of a school’s general expenses. Or maybe no other school presented an idea that matched what his heart desired to put money on.
Regardless of what we think, the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation exists. And it sounds like a great program, described as:
The undergraduate degree program focuses on nurturing and developing original thought, leading to breakthrough products, systems, technologies and more. Drawing on the talents and experiences of industry leaders from a vast array of fields and driven by passionate, committed faculty, the Academy empowers the next generation of disruptors to change the face of society.
Now back to 2017. This new pledge sounds life-changing, too, like it could open doors of opportunity to the arts and media industries for a great deal of teens. Dr. Dre’s donation to the high school will help fund a 1,200-seat theater and digital media production equipment for the center, which is expected to break ground in 2020.
What do you think about Dr. Dre's contribution?