Singer, songwriter and philanthropist Usher, celebrated the 15th anniversary of his New Look foundation at the St. Regis in Buckhead today.
Boxer-dancer Sugar Ray Leonard, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and a cohort of sponsors and students of Usher’s New Look foundation also came to celebrate the milestone. Blake Shelton, Robert De Niro and 42nd President of the U.S. Bill Clinton sent videos congratulating the star on his success.
Josh Kaufman, Season 6 winner of NBC's "The Voice," also performed a cover of, "Am I Wrong" orginally written by Nico & Vinz during the two-hour event.
Long from his days of, “Star Search” and, “My Way” Usher said he created the foundation to inspire others.
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” he said, “I just wanted to inspire and encourage the youth to be more passionate.”
Usher’s New Look foundation has helped more than 21,000 young adults since 1999, instilling leadership development from Atlanta, to Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York.
The mission of the organization is to certify underprivileged youth in talent, education, career and service with a program that provides them access, awareness and empowerment.
“The foundation has raised more than $1 million, at this event alone,” said rapper-actor Ludacris who emceed the event.
A live auction held mid-ceremony raised another $98,000. An auction winner received signed Sugar Ray Leonard boxing gloves and a boxing lesson at Leonard’s home –once Ludacris upped the ante.
New Look Mogul in Training, Jasmine Pollard received the New Look achievement award. Her powerful acceptance speech resulted in a standing ovation.
“Just because life sets you up to fail, doesn’t mean you have to,” she said.
Other honorees included: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Kami Luigs, General Electric Foundation; Mary-Pat Hector, New Look Academy Youth and Activist; Cory Nettles, New Look treasurer and Shawn Wilson, former New Look President.
Usher paved a foundation of an altruistic legacy 15 years ago and the support continues to grow.
“It’s not what he’s done, it’s what he’s about to do,” said Ludacris.