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Drumma Boy Helps Sustain Memphis Musical Legacy With Scholarships

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It’s great to see more members of the hip-hop community contributing to educational institutions. Producer Drumma Boy collaborated with his father to create the James and Christopher Gholson Scholarship Fund, an annual scholarship that awards students majoring in Woodwinds or Commercial Music at the University of Memphis.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, students who maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher must write an essay to explain their own “affinity for the needs of under-represented or under served communities” and their “commitment to enhancing their reading speed and comprehension.” The unique scholarship derived from Drumma Boy’s father, who approached him with the concept.

“That was really my father, just trying to pass his legacy [on],” Drumma Boy said during an interview with HipHopDX. “He saw my connection with kids and the impact that I make with the youth and was like, ‘We should do a scholarship together for students who are capable, “A” and “B” students, coming out of high-school who are looking for scholarship opportunities playing clarinet.’ So it’s a clarinet scholarship, just to pretty much, like I said, pass on my father’s legacy, to pass on the musicianship and to be one of the first Black scholarship available at University of Memphis.”

Drumma Boy’s father, Dr. James Gholson Jr., was the first African-American professor at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music in 1972. In May 2012, Gholson stepped down as the principal clarinetist for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra after 40 years on staff. Drumma Boy also attended the University of Memphis as a Music Business major prior to his booming success as a producer.

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