9th Wonder Launches "Bethune Project" In Support of Small NC College

AllHipHop Staff

Producer 9th Wonder has been recruited by a small North Carolina college to create a new program aimed to revitalize the school’s low enrollment.

The board of trustees at Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina has asked the renowned producer to develop the 9th Wonder Center for Music Studies and Entrepreneurial Studies, he told AllHipHop.com exclusively.

Founded as a women’s seminary tied to the Presbyterian Church in 1867, Barber-Scotia College is a Historically Black College, which has always had enrollment numbers under a thousand students.

Among the school’s alumni is Dr. Mary McCleod Bethune, who would go on to found what is now Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, and serve as adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Since losing its accreditation in 2004, the now co-ed Barber-Scotia College’s enrollment is at an all-time low of just 20 students. The 9th Wonder Center is just one of many projects the school has recently revealed as it prepares to be recognized for accreditation candidacy in April 2010.

In May, the school also announced the creation of the Faithful Promise campaign, whose honorary chairperson is R&B singer Monica. The campaign’s goal is to raise $10 million by June 30, 2011 to fund scholarships, support operational costs and repay the school’s past debts.

“As the main facilitator for the Center for Music and Entrepreneurial Studies, I’ll be overseeing all aspects of the project,” 9th explained to AllHipHop.com.

Among his duties are the development of courses and programs of study, as well as the selection of the faculty and administration who will be involved.

“I’m in the process right now of asking some of my closest friend in academia to help me do this,” he added. “I’m calling my project The Bethune Project. I wanna come in and try to bring more students to that school. So I’m basically rebuilding a college. It feels like 1899.”

Once completed, the Center will offer courses in Music Technology, Music Ethnology and History of Black Music in a social context. While he develops the new Center, 9th Wonder will be pulling double duty as a professor.

Starting in Spring 2010, he will be teaching Hip-Hop in Context and History at Barber-Scotia. Having also just recently become an adjunct professor at Duke University, 9th has developed a course with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, professor of Black Popular Culture in the department of African and African-American Studies at the University.

The two will be teaching a new course called “Sampling Soul,” which explores Soul Music from the 1950s to the present, while exploring how the music was shaped by Black culture and vice versa.