Tag Archives: male

The Purge – Bootstrap

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The Purge – Bootstrap

There’s a lot of shit going on and history being made right now, this second, in the world. 80 years from now people will be reading about these current times in whatever newspapers, books, or blog posts there are in the world or beyond. During these, future times what do you want people to read about humankind, humanity? Some bull-shit about you making Fool’s Gold in a global economy!? Or stories about you inspiring your peers and community by trying to enduce and inflict the positive impact that that time needed!? Time will judge what that calling will be.

At the end of the day, my observation as a teacher is that we need all strong citizens to feel compelled to reach back into their communities to teach and support those that need it, which is really everyone. No matter where you come from, if you’re of able body and mind, you should feel obligated to do what you can to (over)fertilize that ground and village that you sprouted from. It should be inherent in you to leave the ground more plenteous for whoever comes after you.

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Support, lead, guide, nurture, develop, fertilize, choose whichever word carries the most meaning to you. I can accept initial ignorance, and in response, I will inform you now! Teaching and learning are the nutrients and the duties we all carry as a burden if weare to complete our most basic of civic duties. If you’re reading this, I will repeat again, (your interpretation of) teaching and learning are the nutrients and investment you must see fit to return once you reach individual success.

Change would be instantaneous in communities around the world if people began to purposely mentor the youth they touch (family, friends’ kids, neighbors, church family, students, friends, co-workers… whatever.) And also chose to view these as learning experiences more so for your for your own sake just as much as your mentee’s. I think this is a vital step toward beginning to build strong communities of worldly citizens, importantly strong Black, Brown, urban, marginalized, (insert label here).

As Dr. Kunjufu says, no one gets to success without stepping on a few backs intentionally or inadvertently along the way. Even people that believe they achieved success through their own grit and control – You owe it to that very alignment of the stars-esque luck to actively help align the heavens for someone else. Once you know these gates exist, they are easily out-maneuvered. However, the cost of this privileged-knowledge burdens its users with a debt of eased-maneuverability and flexibility: often forgotten, and never paid back in full with interest.

My strong Black and Brown citizens, it takes a new level of arrogance and disconnect to believe that you, yourself, have found success without having received uninitiated support and guidance from a community elder during your youth. Remembering the context that this is the same world where the verdict in the George Zimmerman Trial could have been anything but not-guilty. This argument instantly puts my emotions into over-drive – filling my body with the passion that leaks out of my eyes and mouth – words and motions spilling out on the floor faster than I can process or recall for all that matter.

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No string of language(s) exists that can begin to describe the institutional webs that block the natural and otherwise promised progression of young people of color, specifically males. And to be clear and fair, there is no amount of studying that will ever make me believe I know all the ways these (plural) institutions affect our daily lives for better and forthe worst.

At the end of the day, really all I wanted to say was this. HEY YOU, do your job homie! If you can read this ask yourself are you purposely teaching and learning? If you are not, for the sake of your ideals on equality, justice, humanity, love, whatever – Start. If you don’t know how, ask someone to help you start. It’s that simple. You can ask me and I’ll brainstorm with you. Yes, it’s that simple.

info@skoolhaze.com (info (at) skoolhaze (dot) com)

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This piece is really a response or better yet an explanation of a rant of mine on facebook.

SkoolHaze ThePurge Bootstrap Rant

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Click here to view other posts from The Purge

Challenging Students or Challenging Environment

Challenging Students or Challenging Environment

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Even in my own head my most recent post(s) come off as a misrepresentation of what I’m really experiencing this year as a 2nd year teacher and graduate student. By no means have things been easy and just fallen into place properly. If anything I’ve felt as though I have to deal with a lot more chaos than I did at the beginning of last year. However, I’ve been managing it with more laughter and matter of factness, at least in my own head.

This year, I’m working with a lot more freshman students, which is great because its helping me build relationships with the new members of the student body. The freshman class is more independent than previous classes we’ve brought into the school. They seem to be able to work better on their own, and to date haven’t given much pushback when we give them homework or require them to step up to the plate with their work. This has been surprising, but also pretty frustrating when trying to figure out how to bring the same sense of responsibility to our sophomore and junior classes at the school. I’m not quite sure what we can do to bridge the gap for them, but, that will be part of my job next marking period as I work with some of our junior students in the new Post Graduate Prep Elective.

This year’s freshman have been a great social experiment for me. I’ve really been able to push myself and them beyond what I thought I was able to do last year, and with a lot more natural appeal. Had you asked me last year if I was myself in the classroom or some character I presented, I would have answered that I was definitely my genuine self. However, the freshman this year seem to have brought a more relaxed and authentic version of myself into the classrooms as a teacher and my graduate classes as a student. They’ve also helped me realize that no single experience in the classroom starts and ends in that classroom. We live in a world that is constantly pulling and growing on things that have happened previously in all of our lives.

Some of the challenging situations I’ve had to maneuver this year have oddly enough all come from the same classroom. In one class of approximately 20 students on the roster my co-teacher and I have –

  • A) a student who functionally can’t read (well)
  • B) a student who for lack of a better term has extreme mood swings within one period
  • C) a student that has the energy and attitude of a tazmanian devil
  • D) a student that just so happens to be the son of my barber – which has made subsequent management very difficult do to the inherent conflict of interest.

Dealing with these students in the same classroom has been… interesting. Interesting by the way is my new buzzword for, a fucking mess. I will say though that although these students have kept me on my toes I do feel a genuine love and responsibility to look out for their security, growth, and comfort inside and outside of my classrooms.

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A few weeks ago, students B and C, who by themselves have the power to completely derail a productive classroom environment came into class and performed the Dragon Ball Z Fusion Dance. For those of you that don’t know it’s a dance performed by particular characters in the popular anime series that allows them to combine forces, strength, and minds to fight stronger enemies. So far this is probably the single most hilarious memory I’ve had as a teacher. I’ve included a quick video showing the fusion process below, and yes the students literally did this in the middle of class, in unison, together. I died a little inside from shear amazement that they even knew of the fusion dance, and second that they were essentially saying in code that they were combining to wreck havoc together.

Ironically, I actually think both students were able to focus and get a decent amount of work done this day. However, I was taken aback by their seemingly freudian slip. I think subconsciously their act was an admission that they both understood that they had the power to derail the class if they chose to. The whole class period I moved in a semi-state of shock, like what the hell have we gotten ourselves into.

Of course, fate decided that I would be in charge of both student’s IEP meetings. Both meetings brought surprises and challenges never experienced before. One student’s IEP is still yet to be drafted… yet another thing I have to complete this weekend… supposedly. One thing I love about my position as a teacher is being able to connect with my students on a simpler level than their educator. In both meetings with the students, I mentioned the fusion process that I saw in class, and how I was shocked that they even knew what that was. It served as a door opener to students who can be particularly difficult to connect with when not in the mood. Even weeks later I still can’t quite get over having two Super Saiyan students who understand their power to support and disrupt a classes progress singularly and even more-so together.

To tie this back to my initial statement, clearly these students both saw the fusion process years ago at home, and brought the idea into the classroom to really just have a good time and share laughs together. I know I haven’t watched Dragon Ball Z in probably over 5 years, and its been a lot longer since I heard of fusion. In the end, I let both students know that their fusion was hilarious, and I respect them for comedically bringing it into the class. I actually think the three of us are the only ones who caught it in the moment and haven’t forgotten it. However, I’ve already put my co-teacher on game, and let the students know that any further fusion activities will be met with equal force from my co-teacher and I.

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We laughed… and to this day they have continued to be lovely difficult students to manage in the class.

Front-row Leadership with JeShaune Jackson

The Creative Dreamers Award has been funded! We’ve met our goal of $3,000. I have a call next week with our liaison on campus to discuss next steps in regards to communicating the scholarship to the campus, alerting the selection committee, and figuring out how we can start building an actual endowment or if we should continue to go the yearly route. In hindsight, it took far more time to get the actual scholarship paperwork complete than it took to raise the total amount of funds. Proof that its not that difficult to do your own if your interested. Hopefully my subliminal hints aren’t so subliminal…

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As we all know, the world works in very mysterious ways. I recently stumbled across an article about another young creative dreamer doing his part to spread positivity, push himself, and completely dominate the game. Meet JeShaune Jackson, a 26 year old, business owner, graduate student, philanthropist, and mentor. [He sounds a lot like me, or at least what I want myself to become.] JeShaune recently delivered his first Jeshaune D. Jackson Scholarship to a young African American male student at his alma mater Bedford High School in Ohio. Even better, JeShaune introduces his scholarship winners and runner ups to black physicians and scientists, and develops his own mentor relationship through consistent check ins and relationship building activities.

With his scholarship, JeShaune plans to build black youth by providing them the much needed one on one mentoring and role modeling they will need to support their future successes. JeShaune himself earned a bachelors degree from Bowling Green State University in Premed and Biology. He’s currently pursuing two masters degrees from Case Western Reserve University – Entrepreneurial Biology and an MBA in Design and Innovation, and wants to add a medical degree on top of that.

Donate directly to JeShaune’s scholarship:
JeShaune D. Jackson Scholarship to Treasurers Office
Bedford City School District
475 Northfield Road
Bedford, Ohio 44146

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JeShaune is a philanthropist, scholar, and also businessman. He created the business/nonprofit organization BioComm. The organization brings together graduate students from diverse academic backgrounds – medical, law, engineering, business, and other fields – to build proposals for science and medical innovations. Participants gain valuable entrepreneurial and business experience working across fields and with real world clients. With the help of the students, JeShaune’s BioComm looks to bridge the gap between science innovation and consumer. You can watch a video proposal featuring Je’Shaune and BioComm at the Johnson and Johnson Be Vital Challenge website.

As we can see JeShaune is an ambitiously inspirational player on the scene. Its humbling and invigorating to see him accomplish his goals. I love the vision he has carved out for himself and his endeavors. He is leading from the front! Think of it as front-row leadership. Being different and resultantly impactful with your leadership. What are some ways you lead from the front? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

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Find out more about JeShaune, the scholarship, and BioComm:

 
 

Movie Suggestion: The Pact

Movie Suggestion: The Pact

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If you’ve ventured to my website, then I’m going to assume that you’ve at least heard of this book before: The Pact. The story of George, Rameck, and Sampson as they grow up in inner-city New Jersey dodging some of life’s regular challenges growing up young, black, and male in America. They made a promise to eacher to become doctors, and today they’re more than just that, their mentors to kids and professionals alike. I don’t exactly remember when I read the book. I want to say I had to be about 21-ish. So about 7 years ago. It was a great story showing that even the smartest and most motivated young black boys experience challenges that often times throw them off the track to success. Or at least prolonging their journey.

I just so happened to land on Netflix this weekend and saw that the movie was finally made available to stream. Immediately I clicked play, and took out my notebook to take notes on what I saw. I don’t remember too many details from the book, a sign that I need to go back and re-read it, but I was blown away by the huge following the doctors have amassed in so many years. The movie is shot in documentary/reality show style. Following Sampson, George, and Rameck through what seems like a month in their lives.

Their bond bleeds through the screen, their professionalism is encouraging, and their humanness is evident and inspiring as they still encounter challenges in their everyday lives as black men aiming to inspire all those around them. I invite you to grab a notebook, a chair, and learn from the movie.

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Notes: 

– The scene where the doctors meet an inspired young man and his mother at a book signing is one of the most powerful scenes of mentoring/role modeling I’ve seen portrayed on screen. Seeing black men mentor black boys is truly a beautiful site, and a duty all educated black men deserve to their communities – yes, including you!

– I wonder what it feels like to be the doctors. How do they manage their abilities to have an impact to so many youth and adults?

– I want to have an impact like this! How do I get myself to the point where I can have this kind of impact?

– The doctors feel as though they are practicing role modeling, and want other men to join in and do the same. What do you think it means to practice role modeling?

– I need to get a bunch of college banners and hang them around whatever space I teach in next year. No wonder Malique is so focused on education, his room is a breeding ground of college pennants. And shouts out to him for his first and second choice schools! Way to shoot for the stars. I wish I could get an update on what this young man is doing right now.

– How do you go about spreading your positive message/knowledge to the people around you?

– I wish I could get a better look at what it’s like to be the doctors. How did they begin doing their outreach? How do they maintain their outreach efforts now, especially given their professional obligations as doctors? On paper, what does a typical weekly schedule look like for them? This will help me see how I can better manage my time as I grow this and my other platforms.

– Rameck says “Busy is good, there’s a reason why I run like this, because there’s a need for what we do. If there wasn’t a need I wouldn’t be running like this.” Does this scene influence you to make any changes to your own push for greatness? Does it make you frame your work/life any differently?

– What does Rameck mean when he says “We have to get out there ourselves and do something to help ourselves.”?

– “Don’t wait for someone to give you something. You go get what you want them to give you.” This is a big reason why I started this blog. Be the change you wish for others to make. At times it seems like I’m doing this for my own good, which actually helps because it helps me reflect and document what I  do and how I think. There wasn’t a guide I felt was representative of black men as I began the journey of becoming a teacher… So I made my own.

– Cosby parenting video clip: This is essentially how I am with my students.  Caring, direct, fatherly, matter of fact, emotionally invested, and fully invested in their development. More than they even are for themselves. My students are 16-18, and they think they have it all under control. From their perspective they run their worlds. But they don’t understand that the world is far larger and more complex than they can comprehend at this point in their lives.  They don’t understand that the decisions they make now impact their lives now, AND sets the bar for where their lives can go in the future as well.  What often gets in the way for them is their narcissism, cockiness, or selfishness. Extremely common for teens, but still, it serves as a barrier to deep academic and social development in the actual classroom. At this point in the school year intense student interventions look similar to how Cliff and Theo interact after Theo calls Cliff back into the room. Students ARE afraid to try for a multitude of reasons, its not acceptable and  getting in that ass, as any big brother would, is my way of showing them tough love in the classroom. Followed by the  regular signs of warmth and love as a mentor in their lives.  Which reminds me to look into more of Bill Cosby’s  written works.

– Who can you develop your own pact with to help push you to be the greatest you can be? Who can you team up with to hold each other accountable? Who is on your team? I’m starting with my frat brother as we build up Creative Dreamers. We’ve  grown together for  8 years, and have each other’s back similar to the Doctors.

– Think about ways to document and share your journey like Sampson, George and Rameck have done with their various books, website, and now movie. Don’t hold on to knowledge, tips, tricks, understandings you have come to know and depend on. Think about how useful it would have been for you had you learned these lessons earlier in life. Pay it forward and share yourself with others.

– Cute Granny alert!

– What sacrifices are you willing to make when your work life interferes with your out of work ambitions?

– Cling to the positive friends and family you have. Help each other become the best versions of yourself that you can!

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— Available on Netflix

2006 – NR – 85 minutes

After making good on a high-school pact to become physicians despite extraordinary odds, three friends return to their tough hometown of Newark, N.J., to practice medicine and inspire at-risk youths to stay in school and off the streets.

What were some of the key points from your perspective? Share in the comments section.

Dr. Walter Kimbrough’s audio interview post Dre-gate

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Dr. Walter Kimbrough comments on his LA Times Op-Ed about Dr. Dre’s donation to USC. I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Kimbrough’s perspective on the issue. In fact, it made a lot of sense after hearing some of the statistics and real life effect Dre’s donation could have had for an HBCU.

- Thanks to Dr. Boyce Watkins for snagging and recording this interview -

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Key Points:

  • – Dr. Kimbrough has 8.5 years experience as a University President.
  • – Educator/Mentor drenched every word spoke. I could feel his passion through the earbuds
  • – 2 months of interest off a $35 million dollar investment would pay for some HBCU’s expenses for the entire year. (WOW!)
  • – Dr. Dre, with this donation, is now the largest Black Higher Education philanthropist in history.
  • – Dr. Kimbrough considers Dr. Dre a peer, and fellow visionary. (I wonder who my peers/fellow visionaries will be 20 years from now…)
  • – USC is trying to fundraise 6 Billion dollars in a large capital campaign. In 1.5 years time, they have already raised more than the combined endowments of all HBCU’s.
  • – $35 million would double/triple/quadruple most HBCU’s endowments. This could easily transfer to more scholarship opportunities for students, resulting in less amounted debt.
  • – Dr. Kimbrough has discovered the Art of the Challenge. He views this experience ad an opportunity where he can challenge how he engages with potential donors. He also wants to challenge others to think about how they give to their community.
  • – [Everyone] should target their resources to help those that need it the most in their communities.
  • – Black entertainers [and everyday citizens] need to focus their giving to do the most good.

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Dr. Kimbrough really brought the message home for me here. I still commend Dre for doing something drastic and different, but I do see how this money could have been exponentially more impactful at an HBCU. What were some of the key points from your perspective? Share in the comments section.

Check out:

Dr Dre creates his own academic program at USC

Why didn’t Dr Dre give it to a black college?? – Walter Kimbrough

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Oladoyin Oladeru – Calls for black men to return as mentors

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Oladoyin Oladeru uses his platform to challenge other black men to return to their schools to mentor the young men. I love that Oladoyin started his own organization – Young Men at Peace to help spread his own message and set an example depicting what mentorship can look like. I’ve underlined a few key points about how Oladoyin went about creating his program. I wish he shared more details, but hopefully this wont be the last we hear from him and his push to get more black men to mentor. I can’t help but notice that at the age of 27, a lot of my distant and close peers are reaching a point in their lives where they see the need to help support and develop our younger generations. It’s empowering to know that there are people out there aware and willing to make a change in their communities as well.

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oladoyin-oladeru/memoirs-of-a-mentor-a-cal_b_3039856.html

Pdf: Oladoyin Oladeru: Memoirs of a Mentor: A Call for Black Men in College to Come Back to School

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Memoirs of a Mentor: A Call for Black Men in College to Come Back to School – Courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Clinton Global Initiative University 2013 Commitment-Maker; Epidemiology Major at University of Rochester. Growing up in the Bronx, violence was inescapable, with age offering no immunity. When I was in sixth grade, Gang members shot and killed two of my closest friends as we walked home from school one day. We were only 20 minutes from home.

It was the walk home that rocked my childhood, and in its wake, I could have easily succumbed to the fate of so many around me, who ended up in jail or in the grave.

But instead of getting derailed, I grew more determined to help end the senseless violence that plagues my community and many out there like mine. I am motivated by my backstory — and my current success as an epidemiologist-in-the-making at the University of Rochester, a participant at Clinton Global University 2013 (CGI U), and a Gates Millennium Scholar — to call other college-educated black men to action. I am walking proof that we can make a significant impact on the black youth in our communities. Through CGI U 2013, I am advancing the kind of mentorship that will ultimately save black men’s lives.

Inspired by Gandhi’s belief that “to reach real peace in the world we shall have to begin with the children,” I recently founded Young Men at Peace, an after-school nonviolence education and empowerment program for adolescent boys in the Rochester City School District, where black males graduate at the lowest rate in the country — a criminal 9 percent. Between 2009 and 2011, homicide was the leading cause of death among Rochester city youth, with African American males representing most of the victims.

I have seen firsthand that mentorship can play a transformative role in the development of young men who often get left behind. Therefore, I am charging minority college students all over the United States to reach out to the inner-city schools near their universities, and even their home states, to mentor underserved boys and girls. No matter how ordinary you think your achievements are (and I assure you they’re not), they allow you to offer youth a support system that is critical and unique. As a college student, you are capable of providing them with resources, connecting them to different opportunities, and offering them the inspiration to pursue a future beyond the options on their streets.

My relationship with a middle-school student I mentored through a local outreach program informed my decision as a college senior to launch Young Men at Peace. After doing research, I designed an intervention strategy with a focus on individualized mentoring, recruiting other undergrads to lead nonviolence education workshops based on the models for change I have developed.

My CGI U 2013 Commitment to Action will focus on implementing and growing this individualized mentorship for the boys at School No. 19 in Rochester. Every week, young undergraduate men from the University of Rochester lead workshops on topics such as the importance of education, what it means to be a man, tools for nonviolence, and the power of forgiveness. The workshops are fun and engaging, and through CGI University, I hope to not only expand them, but also make sure they live on long after I graduate.

The mentoring program has offered the kids something to looks forward to, but it has changed my life as well. I am no longer someone who watches and wonders why things happen; whether in my epidemiology or my mentorship, I directly participate in creating change.

But I can’t do it alone. I am calling on black men at colleges from coast to coast, in programs ranging from exercise science to engineering, to join me in mentoring youth in the world around them. As a black male who’s not only escaped the violence of the Bronx, but emerged as a leader through Young Men at Peace and CGI U, I urge others like me to engage in changing lives. Trust me, you won’t find a more rewarding endeavor after class.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Clinton Global Initiative in recognition of the latter’s CGI University meeting (April 5-7 at Washington University in St. Louis). CGI University gathers top students and youth organizations to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. For more information, click here.

Why didn’t Dr Dre give it to a black college?? – Walter Kimbrough

Dr. Walter Kimbrough

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Dr. Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University and my fraternity brother, wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times in response to Dr Dre’s donation to the University of Southern California. Dr. Kimbrough loudly and clearly asks – why didn’t you donate your money to a black college? I do remember wondering for a second, why Dre chose USC  in particular for his donation as opposed to the many other schools he could choose from including an HBCU. As I read various articles about Dre and Jimmy’s venture to create their own college program, the ingenuity and inspiration to create overtook any other questions for me. With the Creative Dreamer Award for ISU, we were able to pinpoint how we wanted our award to be distributed even down to what we wanted the scholarship selection committee to look like. I find it difficult to criticize Dre’s motivation and/or donation without having a better understanding of the stipulations tied to the donation. I would be interested in getting a clearer look at how the money is expected to be used for.

Check out my original post about Dr Dre’s donation here

None the less, Dr. Kimbrough’s unique position as a college president for a HBCU amplifies and adds credence to his argument. This man, entrusted to develop the students at one of the nation’s premier black institutions for higher education, delivers a clear and unapologetic argument to Dre and other minorities in power. Surely, if anyone understands how $35 million dollars would impact a HBCU, Dr. Kimbrough would. His call to Dre ,and what I hope is not lost, call to Black people all over is to invest in ourselves and programs that we feel have helped make us who we are. Questioning Dre is not where your involvement in this should begin and end. Yes, we can question and challenge the motives of our celebrities and politicians, but that doesnt stop you from getting up and getting involved either. Let’s make sure we’re living up to the same high expectations we’re asking others to abide by.

Personally, I don’t feel I can question where Dre donates his money. The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation still sounds like an amazing opportunity to influence young adults and create stimulating learning experiences for all those involved. Would $35 million  have been useful at an HBCU? Of course! But your $200 will be equally as useful at your high school, college, church, etc… Think of a program that has truly influenced who you are today. Think of a way you can give back to the people who currently use the program. Better yet persuade your family and friends to give back to the organization as well.

LA Times: Op-ed ArticlePDF: Why USC and not a black college, Dr. Dre

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By Walter M. Kimbrough

May 21, 2013

I was in Detroit preparing to give a speech last week when the news came across my Twitter feed: “Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine donate $70 million to USC to create new degree.” As one of the first university presidents from the hip-hop generation, I had to stop and read the story immediately.

The two music moguls and co-founders of Beats Electronics — recognizing that they needed a new type of creative talent for their growing music technology business — are funding a four-year program that blends liberal arts, graphic and product design, business and technology.

I understood their need to build a pool of skilled talent. But why at USC? Iovine’s daughter is an alum, sure. And he just gave its commencement address. Andre Young — before he was Dr. Dre — grew up in nearby Compton, where he rose to fame as part of the rap group N.W.A. The Beats headquarters are on L.A.’s Westside.

Still, what if Dre had given $35 million — his half of the USC gift and about 10% of his wealth, according to a Forbes estimate — to an institution that enrolls the very people who supported his career from the beginning? An institution where the majority of students are low-income? A place where $35 million would represent a truly transformational gift?

Why didn’t Dr. Dre give it to a black college?

Make no mistake: This donation is historic. It appears to be the largest gift by a black man to any college or university, comparable to the gift Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, gave toSpelman College in 1988. Some 25 years later, their $20-million gift (about $39 million in inflation-adjusted dollars) is still the largest-ever private gift to a historically black college. Dre gave USC almost triple the amount Oprah Winfrey has given Morehouse College over the years. Sean “Diddy” Combs gave $500,000 to Howard University in 1999, which he attended before launching a successful career.

A hip-hop icon is now the new black higher-ed philanthropy king. We’ve never seen a donation to rival this from any black celebrity — musician, athlete or actor — and that fact must be celebrated.

But as the president of a black college, it pains me as well. I can’t help but wish that Dre’s wealth, generated as it was by his largely black hip-hop fans, was coming back to support that community.

USC is a great institution, no question. But it has a $3.5-billion endowment, the 21st largest in the nation and much more than every black college — combined. Less than 20% of USC’s student body qualifies for federal Pell Grants, given to students from low-income families, compared with two-thirds of those enrolled at black colleges. USC has also seen a steady decrease in black student enrollment, which is now below 5%.

A new report on black male athletes and racial inequities shows that only 2.2% of USC undergrads are black men, compared with 56% of its football and basketball teams, one of the largest disparities in the nation. And given USC’s $45,602 tuition next year, I’m confident Dre could have sponsored multiple full-ride scholarships to private black colleges for the cost of one at USC.

Maybe some suspect that a historically black college or university would not have the breadth or depth of expertise on its faculty to spearhead an innovative academy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This future Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation is to be multidisciplinary, with a technology focus. In 2011, the National Science Foundation noted that black colleges are a major source of scientists and engineers. In fact, the top five producers of blacks who go on to earn science, technology, engineering and math graduate degrees are black colleges, as are 20 of the top 50. Once you add in the musical legacy of black colleges’ choirs and marching bands, they are the perfect locations for an academy like this.

In the end, though, this is his money, and endowing a program geographically nearby, where he can have ongoing input and contact, makes sense. I do hope it will recruit and enroll a diverse class of students and not become some enclave for the already privileged student body there.

But more important, I hope this groundbreaking gift inspires other celebrities and musical artists to make similar donations to higher education. And that they will consider doing it in a manner that will be truly transformative. This gift is gravy for USC; for a black college, it would transform not just individuals but whole institutions and communities.

In the Detroit airport on my way home, I counted seven people sporting the stylish Beats by Dre headphones on the way to my gate. All seven were black men, like me. My own Dre earbuds were in my briefcase. I’m sure we all bought them not only to support Dr. Dre but because of the quality of the product.

My challenge is to figure out how to get Dr. Dre and others to listen as well, because when they support black colleges, they are also supporting a quality product.

Walter M. Kimbrough is the president of Dillard University, a liberal arts black college in New Orleans.

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Check out a spotlight featured on The Grio about Dr. Walter Kimbrough for more information about his background and role as an educator.

http://thegrio.com/2013/02/12/thegrios-100-walter-kimbrough-the-hip-hop-college-president/

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