Not content with life just as an international musical artist and performer, Usher tells WL how he’s playing a new tune with his work with Nothing But Nets – the UN Foundation’s Malaria campaign – and his own foundation, Usher’s New Look
By Usher Raymond IV
I founded the Usher’s New Look in 1999, because I believe service is raw energy, and I wanted to put that energy in the hands of under-served youth. When you combine it with education, the energy becomes power. This “service power” means youth can solve many of America’s issues such as poverty, education and violence.
Through New Look’s upcoming partnership with the UN Foundation, I’ve come to realize that “service power” isn’t limited to domestic issues, but it can be beamed across oceans and mountains to make a global impact. A great example is the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets program, which is committed to ending the devastating impact of Malaria in Africa, a lethal, but preventable disease.
I was inspired by the goal of Nothing But Nets, which is to provide lifesaving protective bed nets to families. When I discovered that each net costs just $10, I knew this was an exciting opportunity to engage young people from all financial backgrounds and put the power of service in their hands to help end Malaria.
Each year during New Look’s signature program, we bring young people from across the country to Atlanta for a two-week residential camp that exposes them to service and social entrepreneurship principles and teaches them both hard and soft business skills. With this knowledge and a renewed commitment to giving back, we give youth the power to return to their communities and serve.
So, this summer during Camp New Look, we are partnering with Nothing But Nets to educate our campers and provide them with the opportunity to come up with their own plan to support this program and the families across the world that need their help.
Renowned leaders from the United Nations will visit Camp New Look and lead discussions on global issues around the world. New Look youth will be challenged to create a service campaign to bring Malaria awareness to their communities and mobilize their peers to take action. We’re truly putting the power to end Malaria in their hands.
I’m excited for this opportunity to further instill in young people the belief that their voices can be heard, and their good work can save lives through service. What better way to tell them that there is no limit to what can be accomplished in life?