Sean “Diddy” Combs joins growing trend of celebrity involvement in education
By Paul Dauphin
News that hip hop artist and record producer Sean “Diddy” Combs will partner with a charter school in Harlem caused a stir this week on social media. Combs announced his affiliation with Capital Prep Magnet CEO Steve Perry to launch Capital Prep Harlem.
“Creating this school is a dream come true for me,” Combs said in a news release. According the school’s website, Capital Prep Harlem will open for the 2016–2017 school year and provide historically disadvantaged students from Harlem with the college and career-readiness skills needed to become responsible and engaged citizens for social justice.
Combs joins a growing list of celebrities who operate or support schools. In 2007, Oprah Winfrey founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Actress Sandra Bullock has supported Warren Easton High School in New Orleans since its reopening as a charter school following Hurricane Katrina.
AFC’s Champions for Choice Ambassador Jalen Rose, who has been a long time champion for school choice, founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit. The public charter high school, which opened in 2011, serves more than 400 students.
“So what this all means is just giving these students the chance to compete with others who can afford a private school or live in a better school district,” Rose wrote in the Player’ Tribune. “It’s unfortunate that the quality of your education is based on your zip code. What about those who can’t just get up and move to a good district with a better public school?”
Rose is joined by several celebrities in the AFC released PSA, “Every Child Matters,” featuring Lisa Leslie, Shaq O’Neil, Marcellus Wiley, Laila Ali, Elise Neal and many others.