Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is Educating the Next Generation of Changemakers

The entertainment company has teamed up with Long Island University to create the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports and Entertainment

This article was originally posted on Vocal.

Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

Roc Nation, the record label and entertainment company founded by Jay-Z in 2008, which is home to musicians such as J.Cole and Rihanna and athletes includes Kyrie Irving and Skylar Diggins-Smith, has announced a historic collaboration with Long Island University (LIU) to create the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment. The school, located in Jay-Z’s hometown of Brooklyn, will start enrolling students at LIU Brooklyn from Fall 2021.

It will offer undergraduate degrees in music, music technology, entrepreneurship & production and sports management. Teaching will be carried out traditionally, by university professors presenting lectures, but will also offer unique opportunities such as speeches from visiting guest artists and lecturers and access to immersive internships, with the aim being to equip students with hands-on experience and a network of professional contacts.

The project is likely to be close to Roc Nation founder Jay-Z’s heart for several reasons. Firstly, the location of Brooklyn is notable – it is where Jay-Z was born and raised. Secondly, he has previously spoken about the aspiration gap he experienced in his childhood which led to his involvement in drug dealing and ‘hit[ting] the streets’ and has been extolling the importance of education since at least 2002, when he urged school kids at Chicago’s Marshall High School to get an education as ‘something to fall back on… to protect yourself’. He continues to speak on the power of education, as seen in the video below.

LIU President, Dr. Kimberly Cline, says the location of Roc Nation’s school, which is in close proximity to Manhattan, described by Cline as New York’s ‘epicenter of music and sports’, means it can offer ‘unparalleled experiential learning and access to professional opportunities that will launch students to success’ and open up the worlds of sports and entertainment to a ‘new and eager generation’.

Pursuing higher education is, as Desiree Perez, CEO of Roc Nation, explains, ‘an investment in one’s future’, however with tuition rates at an all time high (Business Insider) and the looming threat of debilitating debt after graduating, many poorer students cannot afford to attend college. Roc Nation is attempting to help combat this problem and increase access to higher education by providing Roc Nation Hope Scholarships for 25 percent of its intake. Those receiving scholarships will be selected from an academically competitive pool of New York-based, first-time freshmen identified to have the highest need and will graduate from university debt-free, receiving individualized support and mentorship throughout their degree.

Because of this, Perez describes the school as ‘a true investment in our community and young people in Brooklyn, in New York City and beyond,’ which will ‘provide unique insight, knowledge, and experiences for students and introduce the world to the next generation of unmatched talent.’

LIU Board Chairman, Eric Krasnoff further expressed his pride in the new partnership between LIU and Roc Nation, describing the scholarship and learning opportunities available at the School as ‘extraordinary’. He also stated that they embody ‘Long Island University’s renown as a destination for world-class education, exceptional career development, and empowering cultural initiatives’.

In addition to the college courses offered by the Roc Nation school, it will also offer year round and summer camps for younger students from Spring 2021. Programs in music and sports management will be available, and will aim to ‘develop young talent’ and inspire generations to come. Scholarships for camps will also be available, in order to reach as wide a group of applicants as possible. Furthermore, Brett Yormark, Roc Nation’s President of Business Operations & Strategy, has hintedthere may be more to come from the LIU-Roc Nation partnership: ‘Expansion beyond our inaugural school will certainly be considered in collaboration with Dr. Cline.’

The Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment begins accepting applicants for the Fall 2021 semester in Fall 2020.

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