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Legendary rapper and serial entrepreneur E-40 is empowering the next generation of music innovators. The California native—whose real name is Earl Stevens—recently gifted Grambling State University with a generous donation to elevate and expand its music program.

The $100,000 endowment will go towards the maintenance of a newly-constructed, on-campus recording studio at the Louisiana-based institution—which was named after Stevens—and the HBCU’s marching band. It will also support education-focused initiatives within the school’s sound technology program.

Aware of the lack of investment in historically Black colleges and universities and the need to support music education programs, Stevens—a GSU alum—was compelled to step up and give back. “I just wanted to make a contribution to my school, Grambling State University, so I talked to the Doc [GSU Band Director Dr. Nikole Roebuck] and she said, ‘Let’s see what we can do,’ and this was what I came up with,” the multi-platinum artist shared while presenting the check during the music studio naming ceremony at GSU’s Conrad P. Hutchinson Performing Arts Building. “I feel good about it, too. I feel really good. God is great.”

GSU President Rick Gallot shared that the donation will be instrumental in sparking innovation and creativity amongst scholars and will benefit generations of students. “E-40 has used his success as a recording artist to create an entrepreneurial empire,” he shared. “We are so grateful that he is giving back to his alma mater in such a substantial way. Our current and future students will benefit from his investment in our state-of-the-art student recording studio.”

Over the past few years, there have been concerted efforts to support music education programs at historically Black colleges and universities. In 2021, Howard University received a $4.9 million endowment from the Warner Music Group-Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund for the creation of a music business center.


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