Usher’s decades of inspiring activism and advocacy have got us saying, “Yeah!”
The smooth singer has been empowering youth through his nonprofit, New Look, since 1999. The organization provides mentoring, leadership training, and professional development for underserved middle school and high school students in Atlanta, Georgia, where Usher spent many of his formative years.
But he wasn’t always so bold. Usher says he was hesitant at first to speak out about the issues that matter to him.
"This was very courageous of me to step out, because [activism] would have not necessarily been something that I would have done," Usher told Mic in 2016 about becoming a more vocal social justice activist.
"I do care. I care about our country; I care about where we stand; I care about who we are and I care about empowering our people,” he said after releasing the video for his song “Chains” and launching his Campaign for Change, a scholarship for one college student to focus on social activism.
The powerful video highlights police brutality and racial inequality in the United States and was released in 2016, ahead of the presidential elections. Usher also used the video’s release as an opportunity to urge people to make their voices heard and to vote.
“Owning our citizenship and using our voice in elections are the only ways to bring about the change we need to see,” Usher told Global Citizen in October 2016.
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4 Years ago, @AmmonLyle, a student from Usher's New Look Milwaukee, received the @Usher Raymond IV UNCF College Scholarship, which afforded him a full ride to @Howard1867. Today, he graduates with honors and a BBA in Finance. Ammon has accepted a full time position in Los Angeles as a Celebrity Business Analyst under David Weise and Associates, one of the most powerful Business Management Companies in the entertainment industry, working with artists like Carole King, Young Thug, Kanye West, Usher, The Weeknd, and Coldplay! Your New Look family is so proud! 😁🎓👏❤ #NewGrads #ThenAndNow #Disruptivators #Graduate #Graduation #Success #Classof2017
He has consistently worked to expand access to education. He not only created the Usher Raymond Scholarship Program in 2014, but he also joined together with Kevin Hart and fellow Global Citizen Big Sean in 2015 to provide scholarships to 20 students attending historically black colleges and universities through the United Negro College Fund. And the year after, he donated another $25,000 to the organization with musicians Future and Ludacris.
Usher will be taking the stage at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, presented and hosted by the Motsepe Foundation, in Johannesburg on Dec. 2. But it won’t be the first time he’s lent his voice to the Global Citizen movement. The superstar performed at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in New York City and in Montreal the following year. He’s also used his musical talents for good on numerous other occasions, including after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana.
There’s “No Limit” to what Usher will do to make change, help end poverty, and empowering the next generation.
And we’ve got a confession to make: We can’t wait to see what Usher does next!