Murphy said it took him more than three years, but his first score was big: impresario Quincy Jones. Then Pitbull joined in. Then Justin Bieber.
The final product includes a half-dozen other musicians and visits to a Nashville middle school where Miley Cyrus donates a piano, and to Murphy’s alma mater, Long Beach High School, which was flooded so badly by Hurricane Sandy, there was beach sand in the hallways.
Rosenberg, who with the help of Office Depot donated school supplies and tablets to the New York high school, said he had a “healthy amount of skepticism” about the project at first. But he said the final product is something special, particularly in a climate in which much publicity about education deals with its shortcomings.
“If you really reflect and try to think, ‘When was the last time I heard, read or saw something incredibly positive about something in school?’ you’d be pretty hard-pressed to recall anything,” he said.
Real Change, he said, is about “the positive things that are happening despite those challenges.”
Murphy said the project already feels like a success, and he’s working on a second production.
To make that happen, he’ll need more stories like the one about Pitbull and Martinez, who was 20 during her one and only year as a teacher during the mid-1990s. Martinez, who now lives in California and works with Roots and Shoots, said she keeps in touch with her former student. She’s most proud that he continues to make classroom visits in Miami, including to her own mother’s.
“How can a teacher make a difference to a student?” Pitbull says on-screen, with just a touch of his signature bravado. “Look at me.”