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The two have teamed up with Adidas and the PENSOLE Design Academy to launch a new education program in South Los Angeles that blends fashion, technology, and entrepreneurship for what the group has dubbed “an entirely new way of learning.” The new curriculum is pioneered by the Iovine and Young Academy, the USC school founded by Iovine and Dre (real name Andre Young), and will be available throughout L.A. County.
As an initial step in their new partnership, Adidas and the Iovine and Young Academy hosted a series of workshops, called “Wood U,” for students to design their own apparel and footwear line. Students worked alongside rapper and Inglewood native D Smoke over the last few months and their pieces will be available in select Adidas LA stores on Feb. 7.
With the Super Bowl taking place in Los Angeles this year, Adidas says it was the perfect time to launch the collaboration with the LA school district. Iovine, meantime, says he was excited to be given free rein to reimagine education at a high school level.
The problem with current education systems, he says, is that they silo students into one skill, thereby forgoing the kind of cross-discipline education that breeds innovators (and workers that people like Iovine want to hire). “I went backward,” Iovine tells Rolling Stone. “I found a problem at corporations with the type of people that they really needed and the lack of people they had who could speak across multiple disciplines, who could collaborate on innovation.”
In addition to the new program with Adidas and PENSOLE, Iovine and Dr. Dre are launching a brand new magnate school in South LA, currently known as Regional High School #1. Set to open on Sept. 22, 2022, the new high school will showcase the Iovine and Young Academy’s new style of creative, collaborative learning around tech, business, and design.
The goal, according to Adidas and Iovine, is to show students that they can turn their love of design into an entrepreneurial endeavor and future occupation. Per a release, Adidas says “Design and creative hobbies have become more than just that – they are an opportunity for youth to explore a future that can become a career.”
Regional High School #1’s location in South LA is crucial for both Dr. Dre and Iovine, they explain, as the majority of students are Black or Latino and a similar majority come from low-income families. “I owe a lot to African American culture and the inner city, period,” says Iovine. “But a lot of these kids, you know, they have all these words for them: under-served, disadvantaged. But what they really have is superpowers.”
The new high school and LA-wide curriculum offering mark yet another collaboration pioneered by Iovine and Dr. Dre. The duo’s longtime partnership has been wildly successful, spawning multiplatinum albums, a multi-billion-dollar audio company (Beats by Dre), and, in 2013, the Iovine and Young Academy at USC (HBO even made a four-part documentary about the two, titled, The Defiant Ones, which you can now stream on HBO Max or watch on Amazon).
Iovine tells us that he and Dr. Dre are so effective together because they’re different: “Ground zero for me and Dre is that we come from two different cultures, and we’ve collaborated for 30 years now,” he says. “What he brings to it and what I bring to it, we really complement each other,” adds the former Interscope CEO.
This ability to collaborate, he says, hits at the core of what he and Dr. Dre are trying to do with education. “Our whole life has been about cross-culture collaborative innovation and thinking like that,” he says, citing the example of Beats being able to merge design, music and technology all in one.
Although the duo’s work with public education is already formidable, it’s also designed to grow. “Dre and I only do things that we like to scale,” Iovine says, “[but] you can’t scale a private school. You can put money in, but you can do one, maybe three. But public school, if you get it right, it’s a lot more work, a lot more elbow grease, but you can scale it,” he explains. “We can affect education, and I grant that it’s a big idea, but we also believe that if you were to create a spark that’s powerful enough, a fire will happen. And we think that this will catch on.”