Andre Young, also known as the hip-hop master producer Dr. Dre, has pledged $35 million of his own money in a $70 million collaboration with producer and co-founder of Interscope records Jimmy Iovine to begin a program in his and Jimmy Iovine’s name at the University of Southern California. The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation will launch in the fall of 2014 with 25 students, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But Dr. Dre’s contribution to the school has come under scrutiny because he has not pledged his money to a black school or historically black college and/or university where that kind of money would completely revive some institutions and make a complete transformation of others. USC is close to his humble beginnings in Compton, California, where he successfully launched himself into the hip-hop stratosphere through the rap group N.W.A.
Dre told the New York Times:
“I feel like this is the biggest, most exciting and probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career.”
The program is a dream come true for anyone wanting to pursue a career in any area of production. “The four-year undergraduate program aims to foster entrepreneurship and bridge entertainment, engineering, computer science, fine arts, graphic design, business and leadership training.”
But now something that he feels so passionate about is being tarnished by criticism of his donation to a school that as of fall 2012, black students only made up five percent of its student body. Walter Kimbrough is one of the youngest college presidents in the country at Dillard University, and is often referred to as the “Hip Hop President.”
He stopped in his tracks when he saw that Dr. Dre was donating the largest contribution of any African American to any school in the country. Not even Bill and Camille Cosby have given such a significant amount of money to one school. So why is it that Kimbrough finds it necessary to express his concern?