Newark, New Jersey has blessed us with some of the most iconic artists of our time. Whitney Houston, Sarah Vaughan and the Fugees are just a few of the groundbreaking musicians who hail from the city that hip-hop coined, "The New Jerusalem." In an effort to give back to ta place that has contributed so much to the cultural zeitgeist, one of Newark’s most prominent natives is stepping up in a major way. Queen Latifah, in partnership with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, has announced a five-year, $5 million project to rebuild music in 38 schools across the city.

Blavity was present for the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Gala in New York on October 16, where celebrities including DJ Khaled, La La Anthony, Wyclef Jean, Naturi Naughton, Sway Calloway and RAII & Whitney were all present to pay homage to the Queen as she was honored for her contributions to the world of music, as well as her commitment to providing low-income students with opportunities to pursue an education. “I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to be a part of the amazing work that VH1 Save The Music does,” she said. “This is bigger than just teaching kids how to play instruments — it’s about using music to bring communities together and giving all children a shot at a brighter future. This work can’t stop until every child can access music programs as part of their education.”

The Queen speaketh all the truths.

Research shows that music education is beneficial not only for the artistically inclined, but for all students. Musical training is proven to enhance memorization, develop language and reasoning skills and increase student engagement. According to the most recent results of a national educational assessment known as the Nation’s Report Card, students who take art classes or music lessons inside and/or outside of school generally score better on tests. Despite this hard data, public schools across the nation have been forced to slash arts education for lack of funding. Under President Trump’s budget plan, these programs stand to be cut even further. In this environment, public schools are more dependent than ever on private sector funding to maintain music programs, making non-profit organizations like VH1 Save the Music Foundation and supporters like Queen Latifah all the more necessary. 

In addition to honoring Queen Latifah at the gala, the Foundation also presented Steve Aoki with the Music Innovator Award for his impact on the music industry and his leadership as a philanthropist through the Steve Aoki Charitable Fund.

DJ Khaled was presented with the #ToyotaGiving Award for his role as a champion for music programs in schools and involvement as national spokesperson for the VH1 Save The Music sister organization GET SCHOOLED.

VH1 Save The Music Foundation also surprised Khaled by announcing that they would partner with GET SCHOOLED on the WIN MORE MUSIC CAMPAIGN, aimed at inspiring students to achieve academic success through music.

The Foundation unveiled a new grant program that will broaden the range of opportunities for students across the country, and advance the Foundation’s mission to make music available in every public school in America.

Kudos to VH1 Save the Music Foundation for championing such a worthy cause!