August 27th, 2008
10:06 AM ET

Music artist ushers in youth vote

[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."]
Licia Harper

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!

Editor's note: For more information on Ushers New Look foundation please visit www.ushernewlook.org, and for more information on “I Can’t But You Can!” please visit www.servicenation.org

Filed under: 360° Radar • Voting
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Dennis

    Kinda reminds of a film on tv the other day titled 'Wild In The Streets'

    August 27, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  2. Mike in NYC

    Usher. Um ... okay ...

    Cynthia wrote:

    "They don’t come to it with preconceived notions like most older people."

    You've got to be kidding me. Thanks to the mass media, they're the most brainwashed generation yet. And the best is yet to come, I'm afraid.

    August 27, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  3. Dennis

    Is Rock The Vote getting owners of XBox360 to use their systems to register and vote?

    Usher, meh; he's the only AA artist out there; unless you go with Rhianna. Would have preferred Xtina or Pink.

    August 27, 2008 at 12:24 pm |
  4. Vegas

    If the youth voted Miley Cirus would be the president...

    Of course she would have the same experience as Obama... without maybe the criminal or radical elements...

    Hillary was awesome though...

    Clinton 2012

    August 27, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  5. Edward From Cali

    How close to you have to look though really? Obama has the youth at his core. He's talking about the FUTURE, the time when young people of America will be handed the reigns. John McCain wants to continue on the Bush path of cultural division, economic elitism, and international alienation, he doesn't truly care for America's future because he cannot connect with the youth that are America's future, how could he? He so dang old!

    August 27, 2008 at 11:02 am |
  6. Lacy

    Usher is a wonderful recording artist with a big heart. I am happy that this story was written about what he is doing to help these young people and I wish there were more people who would do the same.

    In order for some of these people to really be persuaded to vote depends upon the actions of others to go in and educate them about the democratic experience. It is not enough to register to vote because then you need to find out what the issues are and how the politicans feel about those issues that are important to you.

    I sure hope that all people really pay close attention to all of politicians who are running for office and what they really stand for before going to the polls.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:48 am |
  7. Cynthia

    The young vote will be the key to changing politics in America and thank God for it. They don't come to it with preconceived notions like most older people.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:37 am |
  8. Cindy

    It's great that Usher is doing this. Young people do need to get into the political arena because they are going to be running things in the future.

    But saying that I will say that they need to really look at a candidate and check them out before voting. Not to just vote on someone's looks or their ability to talk and make you feel good. We all know that teens and early twenty somethings all go for that stuff. So they really need to vet out someone before voting for them...dem or rep.


    August 27, 2008 at 10:21 am |