By: Alton Pitre
In a recent article posted on website Your Black World, writer Dr. Boyce Watkins questioned why Black record producer Dr. Dre donated $35 million to USC and not a Black college. Dr. Dre is from Compton, California, and is prominently known for his role in the hip-hop group N.W.A., who are the founders of “gangsta rap” dating back to the late 80’s. Earlier this year Dr. Dre sold his headphone maker company Beats Electronics to Apple for $3 billion making him one of the most wealthy and successful entertainers in history.
It is understood that Dr. Dre is from Compton which is just minutes away from South Central Los Angeles where USC’s campus is located in the heart of. It is also understood that Dr. Dre can do as he pleases with his money when it comes to giving it away. But what is not understood is why he would contribute to a college whose Black student population is extremely low. According to about.usc.edu, USC’s Black total student enrollment population was 41,000 for the 2013-2014 school year. The Black student population made up only 4% of that total equating to 1,640 students. Asians accounted a fair 23% while Whites and Caucasian accounted for a vast 37%.
Aside from the aspect of race, financially, USC is not in dire need of any additional funds. Having more money is always nice, but USC’s Board of Trustees are nowhere near the fear of filing for insolvency. About.usc.edu reported that for the 2013-2014 school year, the Trojans’ endowment was $3.9 billion. According to a February 2014 research on Hbcudigest.com, the top 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) endowments equals $1.5 billion. Howard University topped the list with $513,667 while Winston-Salem State University’s endowment of $29, 543 ranked at number 10. Hence, USC’s endowment is more than all of the 104 HBCU’s combined!
I am a big believer of giving directly back to your community and the world abroad, especially for those who are financially fortunate to do so. Being that USC is one of the most prestigious, and leaders of research institutions in the world, I could see why Dr. Dre would want to donate towards their continual succession. Although I do agree with Watkins question of not donating to a Black college. There are many HBCU’s across the country that could have definitely benefitted from Dr. Dre’s enormous donation. $35 million could have easily been distributed separately amongst several different Black colleges improving their educating systems.
Sometimes I find it true when people say that Blacks do not support their fellow kind. In today’s society, especially the hip-hop culture, Blacks do nothing but talk about killing and robbing each other. If you look at other ethnicities like the Hispanic and Asians, they work together and sometimes will only buy products from their own people’s businesses. I am not denying or disapproving the fact of Dr. Dre’s philanthropy, but if African Americans were to corroborate and uphold each other more, we would accomplish greater things as a people.