Usher’s New Look Foundation Receives ‘Freedom’ Honor
Usher is getting accolades all around. In addition to his record-breaking ninth No. 1 hit on the Billboard singles chart, the R&B singer was honored at the Ford Freedom Awards in Detroit, Thursday (May 6), for his entrepreneurial and youth mentoring efforts. The 31-year-old was among the night's two honorees and received the Ford Freedom Scholar Award, commemorating his work with youth in the city, through his New Look Foundation mentoring program.
"I decided to go and mentor the least likely to be heard, because there lies some of the greatest stories," he told reporters before the ceremony. "They're most likely to succeed if you just give them the opportunity, the voice, to be heard." The late John H. Johnson, publisher of both Ebony and Jet magazines, was also acknowledged with the Ford Freedom Award, which was accepted by Essence Magazine founder Edward Lewis.
The annual event was founded in 1999 through a partnership with the Ford Motor Company and Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which stands as the largest institution dedicated to the African-American experience holding over 30,000 historic artifacts.
Each year the Ford Freedom Award is presented posthumously to a recipient within fields including arts, politics, sports and entertainment, for their dedication to improving the African-American experience. Additionally, the Ford Freedom Scholar Award is given to those who have excelled in the field of the year's Ford Freedom Award recipient. Past recipients include famed jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy David Jr., and author Sonia Sanchez.