theGrio’s 100: Swizz Beatz, making beautiful music for education

Swizz Beatz (theGrio file photo)

Swizz Beatz (theGrio file photo)

Who is Swizz Beatz?

Swizz Beatz (whose real name Kasseem David Dean,) is a Grammy-Award-winning hip-hop producer, rapper, DJ, fashion designer and painter, who is also known as the husband of the superstar singer/songwriter Alicia Keys.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Two years ago, Swizz decided to give back to arts education in the borough where he grew up, by adopting the Bronx Charter School for the Arts. He has since been named chair of the school’s board. He’s also a member of the “Friends of Bronx Arts” committee.

The school, which was founded by a group of teachers and parents, held an art auction that raised more than $100,000 for school supplies and field trips. That’s on top of the $50,000 he previously donated to the school.

The 34-year-old father of four also served as a producer in residence at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, which trains future music industry professionals.

Adding to his many hats (he’s also a creative director for Reebok), Swizz in September was named the Global Ambassador for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, helping the organization to raise awareness about improving public health, and “strengthening the relationship between therapeutic healing and the arts.”

And last year, the platinum-selling artist got political, attending the White House Correspondents dinner and campaigning for President Obama’s re-election.

What’s next for Swizz Beatz?

Swizz has continued his advocacy of arts education, including participating in a workshop called “Music-versity: Power of One” with students from the Bronx Charter School for the Arts in partnership with the non0profit organization Music Unites, in late January.

Swizz recently purchased a co-ownership stake in Monster and is joining the company’s advisory board.  Headed by Noel Lee, Monster is the company that created the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone sound.  In this new partnership, Swizz will be creating new and revolutionary products.  He is expected to play a key role in product planning, development, and marketing.

Follow Swizz Beatz on Twitter at @THEREALSWIZZZ