‘Detroit’ cast helps VH1 save the music at local school

Jo Kroeker
The Detroit News
Cast members from the film “Detroit” talks with students at Emerson Elementary-Middle School in Detroit. The cast presented the school with $25,000 grant from Annapurna Pictures and the nonprofit VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

For budding student musicians at Emerson Elementary-Middle School, music is the underlying thread that unites them to the the cast of “Detroit.”

Annapurna Pictures partnered with the nonprofit VH1 Save The Music Foundation to deliver a $25,000 Core Band Grant on Tuesday to the public K-8 school that will fund instruments, stands and method books..

“We could not be more thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with VH1 Save The Music to provide Emerson Elementary-Middle School a Core Band Grant,” a spokesperson with Annapurna Pictures said in a statement. “Music, arts and an indomitable spirit are synonymous with the city of Detroit, and we are honored to have the chance to give back to the talented youth of Detroit.”

Actors Algee Smith, Joseph David-Jones, Leon Thomas and Malcolm David Kelley presented students and faculty with the grant. Two of the actors, Smith and David-Jones, played members of The Dramatics, the Detroit vocal group at the center of the movie. They spoke to attendees about the influence of music and playing instruments on their lives and careers.

VH1 returns to the Motor City after granting six Detroit public schools funds to jump-start their music programs between 1999 and 2001. Over 20 years, VH1 has donated $53 million in new instruments and equipment to more than 2,000 public schools nationwide.

“We are thrilled to partner with the film ‘Detroit’ so that we can help give students at Emerson Elementary-Middle School an opportunity to kick start their brand new band program,” said Chiho Feindler, senior director of programs and policy at VH1 Save The Music Foundation.