USC and its students, Dr. Johnson noted, “are not lacking in these areas. Unless Mr. Young is going to advocate a dramatic increase in USC’s admission of students of color, particularly blacks, I am hesitant to express excitement about his show of generosity.” Dr. Johnson, a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, has been a guest lecturer at Spelman and Pomona Colleges, among a broad range of others.
Lee Bailey, the founder of the Electronic Urban Report (EUR), was measured in his comment for this article. “From my point of view, although its his money and thus, his decision, it would be a great gesture if he were to make a (sizable) contribution to an historically black college or university.”
“God knows,” Bailey said, “all black colleges and universities need the money, so $35 million could help a lot of them alleviate all, or a lot of, their debt.”
“From a public relations point of view, this issue isn’t going away,” he said, “and the fact that you called for a comment shows that it isn’t going away. By contributing, he could do something to improve his image.”
“It’s really simple,” he added, “it’s the right thing to do, to give back to one’s community, but he’s the one who will have to live with the fact that the black community isn’t going to forget.”
A random sampling of 11 African American Angelenos seemed to confirm Bailey’s belief.
“He’s just trying to make himself look big,” said Barbara Wheeler, who was shopping when asked for a comment. “This (the contribution), is plain crazy,” echoed Asia Stone when she stopped to reply.
“Dr. Dre does not read history,” opined Meti, a musician riding on an MTA bus headed to Santa Monica. “I can’t support his decision,” added Greg Russell much later, as he walked hurriedly along Wilshire Boulevard toward his SUV.
In Las Vegas, Anice Dickerson, a descendant of the 13th bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. William Fisher Dickerson, said, “Dr. Dre should re-think his charitable contributions. Gifts to historically black schools help many, many more students, especially in the deep south, where fewer youth can afford the costs of a higher education.”
The bishop’s vision, stamina and leadership were primary in the creation of Allen University, in Columbia, South Carolina, despite the white hot rage that overflowed after the Confederacy’s bitter defeat in the Civil War.
At this moment in history, said a west coast executive, “what a difference it would make if other African Americans and minorities of color took a nod from what Andre Romelle Young, aka Dr. Dre, did for USC and repeated that support for the United Negro College Fund, the oldest minority, financial education assistance organization in the United States.”
Black Hollywood and African American celebrities everywhere, the executive mused, “could make a real difference in building better futures for upcoming, college-ready students by assisting the UNCF, especially in Southern California. Magic Johnson did it in the 1980s and 90s, while Lou Rawls stood in the gap for more than a quarter of a century.”
“Who will be the next celebrity to take up the cause for higher education?” the executive asked.
When that celebrity steps forward, Dickerson believes, “that will motivate other entertainers and athletes who have never given much, if anything at all, to black colleges and universities.”