Travis Gosa, an expert on race relations, African American history and professor of African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University, says hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Dr. Dre’s transition to the billionaire boys’ club is a sign of the massive socioeconomic divide within black America.

Gosa says:

“If rumors of a $3.2 billion Apple buyout of Beats are true, Dr. Dre – Andre Young – will become the first billionaire in hip-hop. Given hip-hop’s roots in urban poverty and social exclusion, there is much to celebrate about the ability of rappers to make the transition from the streets to corporate boardroom. However, the addition of Dr. Dre to the ‘billionaire boy’s club’ comes with the sobering reality of the massive socioeconomic divide within black America.

“There are now two wildly separate and distinct black America’s: an urban underclass mired in Jim Crow levels of poverty, criminalization, and joblessness, and a new black elite with unfettered access in the worlds of business and politics. Stable, black middle class families and communities have become nearly extinct. The symbolism of Dr. Dre as the first hip-hop billionaire is inspiring, but Black America needs more schoolteachers, real doctors, and engineers.

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