Desiree Perez Announces New Courses and Faculty at Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & EntertainmentBy Ernest Hamilton
The future of the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment is taking shape with the addition of new courses and instructors. It's all part of visionary Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez's approach to education, opportunity, and social justice.
Perez, as Roc Nation's CEO, has long championed providing opportunities, especially for those whose needs are not met by traditional social structures. She has been a guiding force at the Roc Nation school, which will begin offering classes this fall at Long Island University.
Perez, in announcing the new school in August 2020, emphasized that its courses would focus on the intersection of entrepreneurship, music, and sports management. In addition to coursework, the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment will feature lectures from industry leaders and internships designed to provide students with hands-on experience.
The school has also pledged to represent underserved students and offer scholarships to 25 percent of the incoming freshman class. The new postsecondary venture "will provide unique insight, knowledge, and experiences for students and introduce the world to the next generation of unmatched talent," Perez said.
Desiree Perez noted that the school also would launch a summer camp focused on music and sports management for children ages 10 to 18. The camp, according to Perez, is intended to invest in the futures of New York City children and provide a pipeline for future industry talent.
Innovative Ad Agency to Teach Courses
The school recently announced that Wieden+Kennedy, a global award-winning advertising agency, would lead the launch of a new program, Creative Promotion in Media, beginning with the fall 2021 semester.
Enrolled students will learn about the opportunities for a career in creative areas like advertising and marketing through an array of classes that also focus on cultural impact. Among the classes are "Hood Marketing 101: How Blackness is Bought," "How to Be a Good Troublemaker," and "Nothing is an Accident."
The curriculum is designed to help students identify the difference between traditional creative work and creative impact, with the knowledge imparted by some of the industry's most unconventional creative professionals. Faculty members will assist in breaking down barriers to entry to the creative world and provide unique, real-world perspectives from around the world.
Wieden+Kennedy is best known for its "Just Do It" campaign for Nike. It has also created campaigns for some of the world's biggest brands, including The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Ford, KFC, KraftHeinz, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, and Samsung.
Program presenters from the firm will include Dr. Marcus Collins, head of planning; Michael Hagos, creative director; Courtney O'Donnell, social copywriter; and Tania Taiwo, filmmaker and creative.
The school has also recently announced the hiring of several new faculty, including producer 9th Wonder, vocalist Colin Levin, and musician Sam Newsome.
"How culture gets made is mostly a mystery," said Hagos. "We want to show more people how to get in the room, how to claim a seat at the table, and how to channel their unique voice and creativity to solve business problems."
Desiree Perez - A Career Committed to Opportunity
That approach to education and opportunity is in line with the trailblazing work Desiree Perez has done throughout her career. Starting as a part-time club promoter, Perez connected with Jay-Z early on in her professional life.
Together, the two founded Roc Nation and now Desiree Perez has become one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry. Prior to being named CEO in 2019, she served as Roc Nation's chief operating officer for 12 years. She has helped to expand the company into a range of business ventures, including artist representation, tour management, a record label, live music, and cannabis.
She was named a Billboard Change Agent earlier in 2021 in recognition of her years of work promoting social justice initiatives. In 2019, Billboard named her Executive of the Year at its Women in Music Awards.
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