Legendary funk musician George Clinton’s talents have taken him across the globe, but he’s always stayed true to the community that played an instrumental role in shaping him into the pioneering artist he is today. The 80-year-old Parliament-Funkadelic bandleader recently stopped by his former elementary school in New Jersey to gift young scholars with instruments, Rolling Stone reported.
Clinton visited the Newark-based Avon Elementary where he interacted with students, the school’s leadership team and elected officials, including Mayor Ras Baraka. Known as the “Godfather of Funk,” he was praised for his transformative contributions to New Jersey’s arts landscape and his indelible impact on music and culture. To honor the school that holds so much significance to him, Clinton paid it forward by donating instruments to Avon Elementary; encouraging children to use music as a form of creative expression.
The students—who donned outfits inspired by Clinton’s flamboyant wardrobe—helped unveil the school’s new music room which was named after the music artist. “You pay attention to the kids, they’ll always deliver,” Clinton told ABC7. “You won’t have to be as old as you think you are. If you just let them have their turn, and it makes you fresh again.”
“In honoring Mr. George Clinton, we not only honor him as the man and legend that he is, but we honor him as a student, one of ours,” school superintendent Roger León shared in a statement, according to Patch. Generous donations like the one made by Clinton will help advance arts education. Studies show students who participate in music programs have better academic outcomes.
Clinton’s school visit came after Passaic Street in Plainfield was renamed in his honor. “He literally put Plainfield on the map as a result of his world fame,” Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp shared. “This is a wonderful day for the city of Plainfield.”