Pharrell Williams is a fierce advocate for arts education and he’s continuing his efforts to make music programs accessible to underserved students. According to Billboard, Williams has teamed up with Verizon to introduce a tech-focused music curriculum to schools throughout the country.
The project is a part of the telecommunication company’s Verizon Innovative Learning initiative. As part of the project, a Virginia Beach-based middle school will have a Verizon Innovative Learning Lab built in their facility. The lab will give students the opportunity to explore music through robotics, virtual reality, and other types of technology.
Williams wanted to have the lab built to spark innovation in the minds of young students. “I want all children to have access to that kind of creative growth, access and support,” Williams told Billboard in an interview while stressing the importance of helping underserved youth overcome the odds. “There’s a lot of variables in a situation as to why something falls apart, but there’s only one scenario where it holds together, and that’s when all the variables are there. The environment, the family, the school, the system — there’s so many things. We just want to do what we can to balance the odds so that as many kids as we can afford, or help and assist in whatever ways, get this access and support.”
Williams has been dedicated to pushing arts education forward. Last year, he hosted the Yellow Ball gala in partnership with American Express Platinum to benefit Young Audiences Arts for Learning; an organization that implements arts education curriculums in different community centers and schools across the country.
Several individuals in the hip-hop industry have been adamant about supporting arts education initiatives. In 2018, Chicago-bred music artist Chance the Rapper teamed up with Lyft to raise money for his nonprofit SocialWorks which empowers the youth in Chicago through education, the arts, and community building.