Grammy Award-winning rap star and business entrepreneur Jay-Z is cultivating the next generation of music industry leaders in his hometown of Brooklyn. This week the artist’s Roc Nation global entertainment company and nationally-ranked Long Island University (LIU) announced a new collaboration to launch the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment.
The new school, which this fall will begin accepting students for the fall 2021 semester at LIU’s Brooklyn campus, is offering 25% of incoming freshman a Roc Nation Hope Scholarship to support a debt-free education. Beginning in spring of 2021, summer residential camps (offering need-based scholarships) for high schoolers and year-round Saturday programs for children ages 10-18 will inspire young talent to become changemakers in music and sports management.
“This partnership, envisioned alongside LIU President Dr. (Kimberly) Cline, is a true investment in our community and young people in Brooklyn, in New York City and beyond,” Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez said in an announcement. “We’re excited that the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment will provide unique insight, knowledge and experiences for students and introduce the world to the next generation of unmatched talent.”
Brett Yormark, Roc Nation’s president of business operations and strategy, says that the company enjoys a long-standing working relationship with LIU, and music and sports remain a priority for Cline and the LIU Board of Trustees. He also says that expansion beyond the new Brooklyn school in collaboration with LIU would be considered.
Brooklyn’s Roc Nation school will offer undergraduate degrees in music, music technology, entrepreneurship and production, and sports management. Students will build a network of professional contacts through visits by guest artists and lecturers, immersive internships and hands-on experience in various fields.
“Our proximity in and around New York City’s epicenter of music and sports clearly positions us to offer unparalleled experiential learning and access to professional opportunities that will launch students to success,” Cline said in a statement. “We look forward to joining with Roc Nation to offer an unprecedented educational resource that opens up the entertainment and sports world to a new and eager generation.”
Hope Scholarship recipients will be selected among New York-based, high academic achievers who are also first-time freshmen demonstrating the highest need to receive individualized support and mentorship. Both the new school’s scholarships and programs will empower students who might otherwise never be exposed to or consider a career in music, given the steady decline of arts education amidst budget cuts in U.S. schools.
Community music programs also keep students connected to the arts. Michael Sticka, president of the Grammy Museum, the Recording Academy’s official foundation that oversees the academy’s educational initiatives, agrees that the music community must join together and help prepare its future leaders.
“As the leader of a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to support music education, we are always thrilled to hear about new schools and programs that will inspire and foster music’s next generation of creators and leaders.”