Ludacris—whose real name is Christopher Bridges—surprised students at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School on Wednesday. He showed up with new instruments in tow. The instruments—which were valued at $75,000—were donated to further the school’s music education program. “I understand the importance of music education,” said Bridges, who partnered with the ticket exchange and resale company StubHub for the initiative. “It’s very important to me.”
Kevin Segura, the director of the school band, says the donation will be instrumental in helping grow their music program. “We have instruments being held together with tape, they don’t move, they’re banged up,” he told the news outlet. “So these instruments are going to improve our sound and going to motivate kids to want to do band so hopefully I can build up this program to what it once was back in the day.”
Bridges isn’t the only hip-hop artist putting the focus on music education. In 2019 Detroit-bred rapper Big Sean opened a production studio for youth at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Boys & Girls Club. The studio—which cost $100,000—features audio and video editing stations. “Detroit is like one of those staples in music. It’s important that we keep that legacy of being one of music’s backbones. We’ve got a reputation to uphold,” said Sean.
Although arts education programs prove to be beneficial for children, when it comes to funding for these initiatives there has been a decline nationwide. The lack of investment disproportionately impacts students from historically underserved communities.