Greater Educational Milestones (GEMS) has brought together hit groups from the ‘70s to headline their benefit concert, “Music 4 The Soul.”
Cameo, The Dramatics, Rose Royce, New Birth, and Tierra will perform Friday, October 25 at the Nokia Theatre for what’s been billed, “A Spectacular Funk Fest.”
GEMS, is a fairly new non-profit organization that began November of 2012 under the umbrella of Andern Educational Research Incorporated (AER). It is designed to provide educational opportunities to students of color and families living in low income and underserved areas of the community. GEMS targets 6th and 7th graders attending public schools who excel in their studies. GEMS then reaches out to those students and their families to bring to them the option of attending exclusive private high schools.
“We want to give these families the opportunity for their child to attend schools millionaire and billionaire’s send their children to,” says Renee Brooks, program coordinator of GEMS. “Most people don’t know where Denzel [Washington] sends his kids to school, we want to change that. We want these bright kids, who are living in underserved communities to be able to go to schools like the one Magic Johnson’s kids go to,” says Brooks, whose own children attended the prestigious Harvard West-Lake at the same time as Denzel Washington and Tom Hank’s children.
GEMS currently has thirteen private schools it partners with to place students, some of which include, Harvard West-Lake, Crossroads, and Rolling Hills Prep.
The opportunity to help children is what got Dramatics member LJ Reynolds involved in the benefit concert.
“Kids are my favorite people,” expressed Reynolds. “When they told me this was for the youth, a cause to help develop their minds and careers, and that it was for those young people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity, I was on board. This is a way to give back to those who really need our support. For me it’s a chance to be a part of something great,” he said.
This first annual Music 4 The Soul benefit concert is intended to get both GEMS and AER’s name out to the community, which Brooks says will raise awareness and support.
“There’s a certain kind of noise out there amongst what’s already going on,” explained Brooks, “when you’re new, you kind of have to punch through that noise to say, ‘hey we’re here, and this is what we’re doing.’ The GEMS benefit concert will help us break through the noise. It will get our name recognition out there so that people learn about GEMS.”
Wasting no time in helping students in need, over the eleven months since its inception, GEMS has already donated $170,000 in scholarships and aid. Brooks says the benefit concert is important in making sure “the pot doesn’t run dry.”
Through ticket sales and donations, organizers are hoping for The Music 4 The Soul benefit concert to raise one million dollars.
In addition to the well-known old school bands, Music 4 The Soul will feature performances from popular Jazz and Latin Soul band DW3. Together, comedian Eddie Griffin and KJLH radio host Adai Lamar will host the event.
Reynolds says fans can expect The Dramatics to perform “as many of our hits as we possibly can. We won’t let the people down,” he said sincerely, “we come to work.”
The concert will begin at the Nokia Theatre at 8pm. For tickets or more information visit www.gemsbenefitconcert.org