Usher – Being a Global Citizen & Shaping Lives with Usher’s New Look Organization | The Daily Show


Welcome home. Hey! Welcome to my home. -What’s up, sir?
-Good to see you back again. You’ve been to South Africa more
than most American artists have. -Yeah. -Uh, does the country
have a special place for you? Oh, my God. I mean, Africa
in itself has a special place for any person who is trying
to identify the reality -that we all come from here…
-Right. …but don’t necessarily know
which part of it we come from. -Right, right, right.
-So every time I’m here, I always try to go back and– I don’t know– introduce
myself to new culture, go to new places, meet
new people, find new things. But I actually
do feel at home, not just because I’m in Africa, but because I’m here
with Global Citizen, and… Right, and you’ve been
with Global Citizen longer than most people have. -You’ve been an ambassador
for a long time. -Mm-hmm. You know, you’ve been part
of what they’re doing -in and around the globe.
-Mm-hmm. A lot of people don’t know
that Usher had been involved in all of the projects
that you’ve been involved in. How did you get involved
with Global Citizen, and what connected with you? Well, I’ve always felt
like I was a global citizen before I knew what Global
Citizen was really about. -Right. -And, uh, the idea
of utilizing, you know, what you have as an entertainer,
and an opportunity to vie or either advocate for people who don’t necessarily have
what they need. Um, that’s always been a part
of who I am. It became a part
of who I am or was, uh, as a result of hanging out
with Quincy Jones. You know, it’s like
it’s enough to sell records and, you know,
be world-renowned, and have people sing your songs,
but what do you do, -what do you offer
that helps other people? -Right. You know, what philanthropic
efforts do you have? So I started
my New Look Foundation, and obviously, years later, uh,
people like this organization and Hugh Evans reached out to me
and wanted me to be a part, um, of an amazing event
on the mall in D.C. Uh, I actually injured my foot. I had broke…
broken foot. There’s probably a picture
of this. I literally… That’s when you came up
with the golden crutch, right? -USHER: I had a cane, the golden
crutch. -(Noah laughs) Had to do it in style. You know,
if you’re gonna do it, why not? But, um, yeah, man. I mean, every bit of what
Global Citizen, um, is about is what I think is innately
the responsibility that all entertainers should
recognize that they have. You-you talk about your
foundation, and I won’t lie. I didn’t know how young you were -when you started
your foundation. -Mm-hmm. I didn’t know, um,
how deep into it you were. I mean, you know,
I knew of Usher, you know, um, the singer, I knew
of Usher, the performer… -Mm-hmm.
-…but I didn’t know of Usher, the person who was trying
to build a community. Tell me about
the New Look Foundation. -It has a very specific cause?
-Yeah. A very specific target, and you’ve been successfully
achieving them. Yeah. Um, well,
success is-is relative. The-the idea is, -obviously 501(c)(3)s don’t
function by themselves, -Right. so the more that people,
you know, are donating, and, also to, you know, show support for what
we’re doing, the greater. But the efforts of being able
to give kids real, you know, opportunity is where
it really starts for me. It’s-it’s… That’s one of the
things that makes me who I am. Somebody believed in me,
somebody gave me an opportunity to know that there was more in my environment
that was waiting for me. -Right. -So that’s what the
New Look Foundation has done. But I really do have
to thank my mother, because starting at a young age, you know, I think
I did a lot things, like Make-A-Wish Foundation
and stuff like that, but, eventually, it’s like, “Yeah, let’s start of foundation
of your own. -And what would you want it
to be catered around?” -Right. And there was opportunity. She helped me
bring that to fruition. So now… 18 years later, still doing it and loving it, having an amazing board,
an amazing opportunity to really change the idea and really be the reference
that I talk about. -Right, right, right. -It’s
one thing to say, “Hey, donate,” but if you don’t know
where the money goes, if you don’t understand
or have a reference to what it looks like…
Is it an academy? Is it a, you know,
is it a workshop? Is it something
that’s peer-to-peer training? Those type of things, I think,
begin to become the reference of what I’m talking about, what the New Look Foundation
represents. So… Usher is 20 years old. Mm-hmm. He’s working
on his music career. -Mm-hmm. -His mom says to him,
“You want to get involved in something greater
than yourself.” -Mm-hmm.
-You see kids who are in court. You see kids
who may have to spend -most of their life behind bars.
-Yeah. This connects with you
when you create an organization that aims to change that. Did it connect with you
because you saw kids who looked like you,
they were your age, that, like, your life could have gone
a completely different way? Was there something about that? I think that was
the beginning of it. In hindsight,
right, you know, now, I’m able to understand that
that is somewhat of a trap. Right? That is
the trickle-down effect of what, you know,
mass incarceration is about. -Right.
-You know what I mean? If you are profiled,
if you do not understand how to see your way
out of the reality of the means that you feel,
like, you’re subject to, you’ll get lost. And I ultimately wanted
to give kids a new look on life through real-world experiences. Having people like yourself come in and talk
about where you came from, -Right.
-how you found your spark, and, then, what you ultimately
did to gain notoriety. When you look at… everything America’s
going through now, -Mm-hmm.
-you know, it feels like… there were issues
that American had, and then a new president
came in, and some of the issues seemed
to go away in the media’s eye, but they haven’t
really gone away, especially for the black
community in the United States. Your foundation speaks
to an idea that many people feel is core, and that is getting kids
into spaces where they have the best chance
of not being profiled, they have the best chance
of not falling into a trap, but the truth is,
we’ve seen time and time again, that at the end of the day,
part of the trap -is just the color of your skin.
-Yeah. When you talk to these kids,
when you engage with them, is there a thing that you have
inside of you, is there an idea that you have where you have
a fear for them as well? I don’t speak to the fear– I
think I speak more to the pride -Right. -and the idea that
they could be something greater than what the world
subjects them to or, either, looks at them like. To see the beauty in finding
or identifying something that will change your life
and many others. Because not only are you
doing it for yourself, but you’re doing it
for that young man or woman -who comes from the same area
that you came from -Right. that was just looking for that
opportunity and their way out. You know, and I do it
by way of peer to peer. It’s not just me as,
you know, now an adult benevolently dictating to kids
like, “No, this is what you do, this is the profile,
do this and you’re good.” Nah. There’s only gonna be
so many Trevors, Ushers. Kobe Bryants, LeBron James,
but you can find something that you are passionate about,
and it could become a career, and it could be your way out. -You can hear the people
rehearsing behind us. -Yeah. Global Citizen is a concert, it is a movement,
it’s about action, -it’s about engaging people.
-Mm-hmm. But it also about
the entertainment. I mean, it’s a beautiful
combination -of all of these things.
-Yeah. You came through to South Africa
and immediately, the country was set alight
by the fact that Usher was going to be
performing with Black Coffee. -USHER: Yeah. -NOAH: Now,
as a South African, I know, I mean, everyone was excited
by this. Why was that important to you? Who is Black Coffee to you? What-what made this, you know,
spark, turn into a flame? Well, out of all of the times
that I’ve come, I wanted to do something
authentic for this region, and I felt like Nathi,
Black Coffee, is that. Out of all of the African,
you know, performers who will be a part of this
collaborative effort, I felt like I wanted him to be a
part of-of this amazing moment. And it really was set within
the intention, um, of not only celebrating what
we’re doing with Global Citizen, which, you know, obviously,
this is very elaborate, but I felt like this was that opportunity
to just start something new. We’re gonna work on the music
for the album, you know, that’s coming. But this will be an amazing
kickoff, and the intention is really to set the spirit
in the right direction. Um, it’s not just Black Coffee. Uh, you’ve also got a special
group of people -who are gonna be working
with you on that stage. -Yeah. Tell me about that. IDA, uh, it’s a dance group– -a dance collaborative,
-Right. of boys and girls
from Johannesburg, who are performers,
and, you know, I really wanted, as I said, the spirit of this
to be right. Right? So, to me, dance has always been
a universal language. They say music is,
but dance really is, right? -There’s something about those
movements, right? -Yes. I-I did a lot of study leading
up to this performance, and the, um, what is it…? -The Zulu movement,
-Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. and the conversation
of what that was– I was like,
I want to get to that. I’d love to be able
to take the intention of putting peace over this
entire stadium, and making sure
that people understand that we’re together
in this effort, but they get an opportunity
to shine. We get an opportunity to do
an amazing mashup of a record that they’re gonna,
obviously, you know, and this is the beginning
of an amazing conversation that me and Black Coffee
will be a part of. -Tell me about the new album
before I let you go. -Okay. The “A.”
I’ve seen it everywhere. -I watched you traveling around.
-I wouldn’t call that an album. -That’s a warmup, actually.
-Oh, that’s a warmup? -Yeah, that’s just a warmup.
-Wow. -The album is not here yet.
-Okay. -Yeah. -So that’s just a warmup
collection of songs -that have been put together
-Yeah. Yeah. -to warm us up for the album.
-There you go. “A,” Atlanta,
you call that home. Well, a lot of things start
with “A,” right? -Right. Right. They do.
-The alphabet, literally. -Literally starts with “A.”
-There you go. -Right. So…
-Well, this one. What does, what does that “A”
mean to you? What is, what is starting
for Usher? I mean, we’ve seen so many
evolutions of the artist, but what is this “A” for you? This “A” for me, was just
a reconnection, you know. I just– it’s what I felt,
it’s the music I’m listening to. It’s the vibe of where we are. And working with Zaytoven
was just an opportunity to just bring Atlanta back
into perspective. You think about the majority of
what I’ve been doing with either Jermaine Dupri
or with Lil Jon, -or any other producers
from Atlanta, -Right. the energy is in that. So I wanted that energy
on this record. Thank you for being here. I won’t keep you much longer. I know we’ve all got to go
and rehearse. Uh, welcome back
to South Africa. Always, always happy to be here. I’m gonna see you in the streets
tonight, my friend. -Yeah. You hanging?
-Thank you for being here. -Oh, yeah, I’m hanging.
-I dig it. I’m hanging. I’m home, baby.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *