[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/27/art.usher.jpg caption="Grammy winning music artist, Usher, kicks off his "I Can't But You Can" voter campaign in Detroit."]
Usher Raymond IV has many titles behind his name, Grammy winning mega-recording artist, songwriter, producer, actor, and now social activist. After a successful run in Atlanta, GA Usher kicked off his national “I Can’t But You Can” voter registration campaign in Detroit yesterday.
The day of events began at the Charles H. Wright Museum with a spirited pep rally and voter registration education session for Metro-Detroit Youth. The participants who attended came with the expectation of meeting one of music’s icons; however, they left with much more; which was the knowledge that they could make a difference in their communities, and this election.
The focus of yesterday’s activities are the root focus of his campaign, getting the youth involved in politics, the voter registration process, and voting process. He wants the youth to take charge of their future, and education!
After the rally Usher and Doug E. Fresh had the opportunity to tour the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and to see their reactions afterwards truly made me proud to be a Detroiter, and proud to have known Dr. Charles Wright.
When Usher was asked why he chose Detroit as the kickoff location of this national campaign his answer was simply, “why not?” “Detroit is home to several wonderful foundations that help the youth, The Derrick Coleman Foundation, YouthTown and several others. Therefore I could think of no better place to kick off the ‘I Can’t But You Can!’ Campaign!
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/27/art.ushergirls.jpg caption="Young Usher fans came out for the kick off of the 'I Can't But You Can' campaign."]
I had the opportunity to speak with Usher briefly about both his initiative and his foundation. I must say that I was touched by the amount of passion and commitment that he conveyed while speaking about them. His philosophy, “A lot of people talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk!”
The premise behind Usher’s foundation, which is creatively titled, Usher’s New Look, is to mentor under-privileged youth. The foundation does this in a myriad of ways, including a two-week camp each year.
During this year’s camp the kids had an opportunity to create and market a fragrance for a WNBA player from beginning to end. The campers created the fragrance, designed the packaging, and created the marketing plan for the fragrance. The purpose of this activity was showing the youth how to successfully start and run a business, a crash course in entrepreneurship so to speak.
Also present at yesterday’s events was the infamous Doug E. Fresh who explained his presence simply by saying that it was his responsibility as an artist to be there and support the kids. He says, “When you become an artist you sometimes forget what the gift is for, but when you remember you should utilize what the gift is for!” Therefore when Usher called he decided to be one of those people that walked the walk not just talk the talk!
I must say that I saw a side of two world-renown artists that I hope will be headlines on every news station, newspaper, radio station, gossip blog, and column, however, I know that there is slim chance of that. But for what it is worth I am highly impressed by the dedication, commitment, and investment that Usher’s New Look is making in tomorrow’s leaders!
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