Dr. Steve Perry has been dubbed hip-hop's favorite principal. Perry is the founder of one of the top high schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Every year since its inception in 2005, Capital Prep has sent 100% of its low-income, minority and first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges.
Dr. Perry was first featured on CNN's "Black in America" series and is currently CNN's Education Contributor. Dr. Perry is one of the most talked about educators today because of the way he approaches education and students. He does this by incorporating the people kids see on television every day. He gets hip-hop celebrities on board to talk to kids about being a contributing member of society and putting academics first. Dr. Perry is changing the culture of education and everyone from the hood to Hollywood wants to be a part of his movement.
Take a look at part one of our interview as we talk with Dr. Perry about everything from Diddy to budget cuts. And make sure to check out his new book dropping this fall, "Push Has Come To Shove."
GlobalGrind: How did Perry Principles start?
Dr. Steve Perry: I was at an event with Dr. Cornel West and Soledad O'Brien. We got up there and started talking, Cornel started doing Cornel, talking about how they control our images and I just got fed up with it. I'm like 'Dude, who controls your images? 10-year-old kids with web pages?' They said the New York Times, but nobody reads that. So I jumped in and she's like 'Gentlemen stop it,' so everyone went back to their respective corners. From there, she contacted me and said that she wanted to take a look at the school and that they were doing this story called "Black in America" which I might be interested in. From there we did "Black in America 2," which did relatively well. 14 million people watched it.
Some of the people who watched it were heads who were in hip-hop. I think they felt the connection. They felt like I was a contemporary. I think there are a lot of brothers in the industry who want to do something meaningful, they just don't know how. They spent the first part of their career doing big music things. Then they look up and realize that this ain't it, this isn't the whole story. So somewhere in that vein we put together Perry's Principles, we were talking about doing something under that name and in the meantime I had met some of these people.