The last of the confetti is just now getting picked up for Dr. Dre, who, for the past week, has been the toast of the Hip-Hop community. Earning a cool billion dollars – and becoming the first man in the genre to do so – will do that to a man.
Dr. Dre is about to get knighted … Compton-style — the music mogul’s hometown wants to hand him a key to the city … TMZ has learned.
Mayor Aja Brown tells us she’s reached out to Dre’s camp to offer the honor to commemorate his entrepreneurial spirit, and no doubt … that pending $3.2 billion deal to sell Beats Audio to Apple.
Brown tells TMZ she’s also asking the Doc to help her restore the city … saying it would be great if Dre got involved in sponsoring performance arts or music programs in Compton.
In a perfect world where everybody does the right thing, you gain a new set of responsibilities upon earning a billion dollars. An up-and-coming rapper earning a $3 million dollar signing bonus can’t be asked for much more than making sure that their money lasts, so often have we seen the rags-to-riches-to-rags story play out.
But a billion dollars? To quote Chris Rock, “[we're] not talking about rich, [we're] talking about wealth.” Rich can buy a nice car and throw expensive parties. Wealth can uplift a community.
And up to this point, Dre’s philanthropic career highlight consists of giving 70 million dollars to USC, the already wanting-for-nothing prestigious institution. Yes, good deeds are good deeds, and it’ll be a long time before myself or anybody I know is in a position to gift $70 million to anybody.
But the criticism that he was met with then still rings true – there are better ways to spend your money than endowing such a privileged university. And it runs deeper, too, than a performing arts program, as Brown is suggesting.
Think of the elementary schoolers without a reliable meal outside of their school lunches, hoping for, but not necessarily getting, a dinner on their table.
Or the middle schoolers thinking that joining a gang is them making the best out of a bad situation.
Or the teachers, struggling to teach a class of 40 students because the school district had to make cuts.
Some of these problems are institutional and will take several generations to completely eradicate, but even those will get a major kick start with capital resources. Donating money to food banks for food and man-power, investing in after-school programs to give kids more productive ways to spend their time, giving money to the Los Angeles Unified School District to be used towards the betterment of Compton – easier said than done, sure, but if a community is going to turn things around, monetary resources are a necessity at one point or another. And let’s be honest: given California’s financial rut, it’s hard to imagine that money coming from anywhere but private investors.
Dre fits the bill. After his deal with Apple (and the business savvy that he’s already shown throughout his career), he has the kind of money that won’t go away. He’s wealthy. Time to accept the responsibilities that come with the title.