Grammy award winning superstar Usher Raymond is stepping up his community service game for the holiday season.
On Oct. 9, BET aired the Project Restart benefit concert sponsored by Usher with the help of corporate sponsors such as Hibernia Bank, Visa, Giovanni The Margarita King, SunTrust Bank and civil leaders like Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
Usher invited 5,000 Katrina and Rita evacuees who were relocated to Georgia to attend the concert for free. The concert featured special celebrity guest Alicia Keys, T.I., PSC, Young Jeezy, Juelz Santana, Jermaine Dupri and Dem Franchise Boyz.
The concert was only the first installment in Usher’s endeavor to assist the displaced residence of the GulfCoast region. "Project Restart was my effort to give back to the people who I saw in need and who were affected by Katrina and Rita, said Usher. "I reached out to a few of my celebrity friends to come to Atlanta for a benefit concert, a concert that would help to raise money to put 1000 families in homes for a year."
As of yet, Usher has secured two to three homes; however, he is focused on reaching his goal of 1000. "I wanted to do it on a major scale. I have been giving so much time and money to different foundations, but to take a hands on approach was the next step. So I came to BET and asked for them to get involved, put your hands on this, and bless it, and it definitely was a success," Usher said to a BET staff writer.
Project Restart serves as Usher’s second major philanthropic endeavor. Last summer Usher founded Usher’s New Look Foundation. Camp New Look is an opportunity for inner city teens to get a close look a professional career in music or sports.
The inaugural Camp New Look was filled with surprises and opportunities for participants to learn the business side of the sports and entertainment industries. New Look campers were exposed to a professional athletes and musicians that schooled them on everything from money management and lasting impressions to ball handling and proper breathing techniques.
Ahmad Carroll, of the Green Bay Packers, and Shareef Abdur Rahim, of the Portland Trailblazers led participants in interactive drills while Destiny’s Child re-enacted a dress rehearsal. Camp concluded with the Us Records v/s Dirty Birds celebrity basketball game at Morehouse’s Forbes Arena.
Usher told ruggedelegantliving.com that this project is "most challenging role yet."