Music artist Dr. Dre has announced a pledge to donate $10 million to help build a performing arts complex at the new Compton High School, in Compton, California, it’s been widely reported.(Image: By Jason Persse from Brooklyn, USA – Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51154077)
It’s clear that the music mogul strongly identifies with the town he grew up in. His new album is titled “Compton,” and its cover features a large sign made up of white block letters overlooking the city, similar to the famous Hollywood sign. Dr. Dre wanted to give back to his community.
“My goal is to provide kids with the kind of tools and learning they deserve,” Dre said in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. “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.”
The LA Times reports that “the complex will include state-of-the-art equipment and technology, including digital media production facilities and a 1,200-seat theater.” The center will also be a community resource.
Dre, born Andre Young, has committed to being involved in raising the remaining funds needed to complete the center’s construction, which is expected to begin in 2020.
“The support that Dre has shown to Compton over the years is unwavering, and we are so excited that we will now be home to one of the greatest performing arts centers in the country,” said Satra Zurita, president of the Compton Unified School District’s governing board of trustees, in the LA Times.
“We are looking forward to blending both [Dre’s] vision and that of the district to provide opportunities for individuals to both explore and apply their creativity in the arts,” Darin Brawley, Compton Unified superintendent, is quoted as saying.
Although at least one online reader complained that the artist isn’t underwriting the building of a tech center that could “teach skills to earn a living wage and improve the lives of people in Compton,” the reader needn’t worry.
Technology is infused in the performing arts (as it is in almost every industry), and Dre has already shown a commitment to technology education: In 2013 it was announced that he and music executive Jimmy Iovine donated $70 million to endow the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.
This spring, USC announced the creation of a graduate program with Iovine and Dre’s backing: Design@USC, which builds on the work of the academy. Classes combine design, technology, and business and start this August.
With the performing arts center’s state-of-the-art technology, students from Compton High may eventually earn master’s degrees through Design@USC.
According to online sources, Dre has a net worth of $740 million.