Jia Kennie Blackwell Memorial Scholarship
Berklee alumnus John Blackwell Jr. '95 is probably best known as the versatile and flamboyant drummer for Prince and the New Power Generation. Upon leaving Berklee, John moved to Los Angeles where he joined Patti LaBelle's band. He appeared on LaBelle's Grammy Award-winning CD and DVD Patti LaBelle - Live! One Night Only. While LaBelle's band was performing in Minneapolis, Prince got to see and hear Blackwell, and eventually asked him to join his band.
Tragedy struck Blackwell and his wife Joann when their two-year-old daughter Jia drowned. To perpetuate Jia's memory, John and Joann are establishing the Jia Kennie Blackwell Memorial Scholarship. A memorial concert was held at the Berklee Performance Center on December 11, 2004 featuring various artists with whom Blackwell has worked.A portion of the proceeds from the concert will be used to promote water safety, and the majority of the proceeds will be used to provide scholarship support for outstanding female musicians at Berklee who demonstrate musical potential and financial need.
Gifts to the fund can be made online or sent to Berklee College of Music, c/o Marjorie O'Malley, MS 1140-I.A. 1140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215. Please make checks payable to Berklee College of Music and indicate that the gift is for the Jia Kennie Backwell fund.