August 10th, 2010
10:07 AM ET
R&B star Usher is well-known as a mentor to youth, not only for the kids he reaches through his New Look Foundation, but also for being an industry guide to one of the biggest names in the business, Justin Bieber.
The 16-year-old pop phenomenon joined Usher in Atlanta Friday for the first annual World Leadership Awards, and noted that the 31-year-old star has been a role model on his road to success.
“It’s amazing, you know, you gotta have a mentor—you gotta have someone to look up to, so you can better yourself,” Bieber said. “I’m glad to be here and support my mentor,” he added.
Bieber was joined by other celebrities like songstress Ciara, producer Jermaine Dupri and rapper David Banner at the gala that celebrated the achievements of the youth Usher mentors through his New Look Foundation.
Usher was still a young man himself when he decided to become a mentor to underprivileged teens. He started out by going to elementary, middle, and high schools to teach kids how to monetize their talents and achieve success.
Today, Usher works with almost 9,000 kids throughout the country to help them stay in school, teach them business skills and the importance of giving back. “Be blessings to each other as youth, but as you develop, as you find your way as a businessman—be service-minded,” the R&B singer told CNN.
Usher focused the entire night on the spirit of giving and the kids he works with. Ciara gushed about how much time Usher actually spends with the teens, telling CNN: “Yesterday was really fun in rehearsals. We were singing together, and the kids were so happy, and they sound so good. But you could tell they were just enjoying the experience, on their little phones, doing their recordings, twittering. I saw some kids tweet ‘We were in rehearsals today.’ So, it’s really sweet to get that feedback and to just really feel that the love is being received, you know what I mean?”
Bieber put on a high-energy performance for his fans that night, while Usher and Ciara teamed up to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Bieber later scooped up the Global Youth Leadership Award, and former President Bill Clinton joined the singers on stage to be honored with UNL’s Service Leadership Award.
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