Berklee College of Music announced a series of new scholarships for underserved students this week, as well as a recently formed scholarship fund named for Danroy “DJ” Henry, a Black college student and Easton native who was shot and killed by police in 2010.
Seven City Music scholarships will cover the full cost of four-year tuition for its recipients, who include: Sebastian Medina of Hyde Park; Nayelly Rodriguez Baez of Lawrence; Vance Spina of Lynn; Shantel Teixeira of Dorchester; Toj’Mere Cordy of Camden, N.J.; David Nkrumah of Antioch, Tenn.; and Kayla Arthur of Philadelphia.
All these students attended Berklee City Music, a nonprofit program with a focus on contemporary music education. A virtual ceremony, concert, and scholarship presentation is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The Danroy “DJ” Henry Social Change scholarship, on the other hand, will aid a number of Berklee and Boston Conservatory students who are “financially and academically deserving with the potential to make a significant contribution to society through the performing arts,” a press release from Berklee read.
Barbara Thomas, a program associate in Berklee’s music production and engineering department, said the scholarship fund honors Henry and his legacy.
“This is a young man whose life was cut short,” said Thomas. “This scholarship is a simple way to honor his memory.”
Henry, a 20-year-old Pace University student, was killed at a homecoming celebration in Mount Pleasant, N.Y., on Oct. 17, 2010. No federal charges were brought in the case, but calls to reopen it have recently surfaced amid a nationwide reckoning on racial justice. Many celebrities, including Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, and Rihanna, signed a July 13 letter to US Attorney General William Barr urging investigators to re-examine the incident.
“The recent death of George Floyd has been a traumatic reminder for our family, and has served as a wake-up call to the world,” DJ’s parents, Danroy Henry Sr. and Angella Henry, wrote in a statement. “We ask our community to listen to the pain of those who are suffering and take peaceful action in order to achieve change.”
The Henrys have deep ties to Berklee. DJ’s father is a member of Berklee’s Presidential Advisory Council and previously worked with college president Roger Brown at Bright Horizons, a child care company Brown founded with his wife, Linda Mason.
Whether the Social Change scholarship is a one-time offering or an annual gift has not been determined, said Thomas.
“We don’t know yet if it will be ongoing or not,” she said. “But we’re hoping that it will be.”
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