High School Won't Let Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Give Them $10,000
Aliso Viejo students are furious that Aliso Niguel High School officials declined a visit and a $10,000 grant from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis over the moral opinions of a couple parents.
Chegg.com, a textbook website, ran a contest for students to win a visit from hip-hop act Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to their school, plus a $10,000 gift to the school's music department. Quinn Darling, the Alisa Niguel Associated Student Body Vice President, encouraged his fellow students to enter the contest, the OC Register reports. It worked, and the high school won the prize. However, the school decided to turn down both the visit and the gift because some parents complained that the lyrical content of the duo's music promoted drinking, drug use and misogyny.
Darling said that the Associated Student Body had already selected a date for the visit, as well as decided to host the event in the gym. There is a petition circulating on Change.org to reverse administration's decision.
"The ultimate decision was never publicized to parents or us, so even though six or however many parents who were initially against (the visit), there are maybe 300 parents who would've supported it," Darling said.
Darling posted about the decision on social media:
And so did Chegg:
Regardless of how you feel about the music, $10,000 is a lot of money to bequeath to an arts department, especially considering how underfunded these types of programs are in public schools. Plus, the duo's lyrics seem like some of the least offensive in pop music, at least as far as drug use and misogyny goes. For one, Macklemore is anti-drug because he has struggled with addiction in the past and is currently sober—though he has admitted to relapsing in 2011 and 2014.
The visit also wasn't meant to be a performance, but a Q&A between the musicians and the students.
Update, 1:15 p.m.: Macklemore is back! Chegg announced via a release that the #CheggMusic101 series will go on as planned, and that Chegg will be giving the $10,000 David B. Goldberg grant to the school's music department.
"The students of Aliso Niguel won the opportunity to have Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on their campus through the CheggMusic101 series," Dan Rosenweig, CEO of Chegg, said in a statement. "We have a lot of admiration for these students: they beat every other high school and college in the country for the right to host this event and alone with the artists, their administration, faculty, parents and communities rallied around a positive message to create a great outcome."
"After careful consideration of varying viewpoints on all sides of the issue surrounding a possible visit by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, it is my hope that we have developed a plan that will meet the needs of our diverse students," Aliso Niguel prinipcal Deni Christensen said in a statement.
Students will require a permission slip to attend the Q&A session, according to the OC Register.