Usher’s UNL: Music Icon Mentors Thousands of Teens to Success
Fifteen years ago, 20-year-old Usher and his mother, Jonetta Patton, devised a plan they hoped could provide at least 10 teens per year with invaluable experiences and opportunities they couldn’t get elsewhere.
The soft spoken, best-selling artist’s vision blossomed into Usher’s New Look (UNL), a nonprofit organization that instills in youth that talent, career, service and education are essential tools for developing into global leaders.
UNL, originally a two-week camp for close to 150 teens, steadily evolved into chapters in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, New York and Detroit. Twenty-one thousand teens from around the world have participated in the foundation’s various programs to date.
Usher came up with UNL after he and his mother sat in the rear of a courtroom. The pair watched several minors go to trial and knew that something had to be done. The now 35-year-old megastar-turned-humanitarian admits he didn’t know what he was doing at first.
The multi-talented entertainer gives serious eye contact whenever he speaks: particularly when it involves UNL. He considers the 501c3 organization to be “his greatest investment.”
“It sounds so simple, but this started as…