With “California Love” playing in the background, Dr. Dre joined Compton school and community leaders this weekend to dedicate a new $200 million campus for Compton High School.
Dr. Dre, real name Andre Young, has donated $10 million for the school’s new performing arts center, which seats more than 900 people. The facility will be named “Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Young Performing Arts Center,” according to the Compton Unified School District.
“I was an artistic kid in school with no outlet,” he said at Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony. “I knew I had something special to offer the world, but with nothing to back my gift, the schools left me feeling invisible.”
The trailblazing rapper, whose net worth is estimated in the hundreds of millions after selling Beats Electronics to Apple Inc. for $3 billion, has often spoken about what lack of education meant to him. He, along with music industry mogul Jimmy Iovine who co-founded Beats Electronics, is also opening a magnetic public school in South Los Angeles this fall. The two also donated $70 million to USC to establish a new academy.
Dr. Dre attended nearby Centennial High before transferring to Fremont High in South Los Angeles, but eventually dropped out of school.
“I always wondered how far I could have gone if the resources I needed at school had been available,” he said at the ceremony. “If I had learned more about the business world, I would have run away [an] a lot of time, money and above all, [made] many friendships.
The Compton native has spoken a lot about what his hometown means to him, even though he no longer lives there. It was in this city that Dr. Dre and others launched NWA, whose debut album was titled “Straight Outta Compton.” Dr. Dre had pledged to donate royalties from his 2015 album, ‘Compton’, to help fund the performing arts center.
“This city is special, and the young people who live here are special,” Dr. Dre said at the ceremony.
The 126-year-old school’s new campus will include a new academic building that can accommodate up to 1,800 students, with the possibility of adding another 450, as well as a new gymnasium, aquatics center, football stadium and a track. The rest of the project is financed by the district bond measure voted in 2015.
“This new campus that will be erected, it will be built on deep roots and outstanding achievements that have been established over decades,” said school principal Rigoberto Roman during the ceremony. “Let’s embrace this change for the sake of our future and that of our children. It’s a type of change to be celebrated.
The opening of the new campus is scheduled for early 2025.
Los Angeles Times