Usher Supports Music and Arts Education with Hometown Concert on TNT in New Neighborhood Sessions Special Created by State Farm®
R&B Star's Intimate Performance in Chattanooga to Premiere Thanksgiving Eve
The special highlights Usher and State Farm's efforts to revive music and arts education in Chattanooga and surrounding communities by benefitting The Nancy Lackey Community Education Fund, named for Usher's late grandmother. The fund's first initiative is to give grants and other support to schools and local community nonprofits to introduce music and art back into many of those schools and after-school programs where there is real need. In addition, the special features a performance by Usher held at his childhood middle school, Dalewood. Members of the community were surprised with access to the concert after donating art supplies to support the initiative.
Neighborhood Sessions featuring Usher marks the fourth special in the Neighborhood Sessions series, which gives the biggest names in music a chance to thank the neighbors who helped make them who they are today, and who continue to help life go right for members of their communities every day. The special is slated to premiere on TNT Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).
The concert at the center of Usher's Neighborhood Sessions special features some of his biggest hits performed on a specially constructed stage on the football field at Dalewood Middle School, where Usher attended school. Throughout the special, Usher addresses the importance of music and arts education for childhood development and introduces viewers to various people in Chattanooga who are impacting the community by donating their time and talent. He also introduces some of the neighbors who do their part to help others and bring positive change to the community, proving that Good Neighbors Help Life Go Right™.
Launched by State Farm with the assistance of NYC-based advertising agency Translation, Neighborhood Sessions is a series that gives artists the opportunity to express their gratitude and give back to the communities that made them great. Each Neighborhood Session is designed to be as distinctive as the community it represents, leveraging local State Farm agents to identify and support vital local causes.
In teaming up with State Farm, Turner Ignite's Content Partnerships team developed a rich campaign that spans linear, digital and social platforms, as well as many of the Turner networks. To extend the series objective, Turner collaborated with State Farm to create custom videos that provide an additional look at Usher's return to Chattanooga, visiting the places that were meaningful to him as a young child, and his championing of arts programs in the community that helped shape him. This content will run in isolated commercial pods through Turner Native Plus in primetime programming across TNT, as well as Turner's Adult Swim, TBS, truTV and Turner Sports. On social media, additional content will be distributed to a targeted audience from TNT social handles through Turner's social optimization capability, Launchpad.
The Neighborhood Sessions series of specials began in February 2015 with megastar Jennifer Lopez performing in her hometown of the Bronx. It was followed in October by a special featuring music superstar Toby Keith, whose concert was taped in his hometown of Moore, Okla. This past September, Neighborhood Sessions featured Dave Matthews Band onstage in their hometown of Charlottesville, Va. for a special 25th anniversary concert.
Challenging himself creatively and testing musical boundaries are characteristics that have defined Usher's career since he was first discovered twenty years ago on Star Search. Usher has been ranked by the Recording Industry Assn. of America as one of the best-selling artists in American music history, having sold more than 65 million albums worldwide. He has won numerous awards, including eight Grammys, and was named the #1 Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade. Billboard also named him the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade, with his career-propelling 2004 album Confessions being ranked as the top solo album of the decade. Usher has attained nine Hot 100 #1 hits (all as a lead artist) and 18 Hot 100 Top 10 singles.
This year is proving to be a big one for Usher not only in music but also in film and his philanthropic endeavors. Musically, Usher released his much-anticipated eighth studio album, entitled Hard II Love, which has already spawned his 15th #1 single with the song "No Limit." In film, Usher garnered critical acclaimed for his role as boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in Hands of Stone, the biopic of boxer Roberto Duran in which he co-starred opposite Robert DeNiro and Edgar Ramirez.
In the past few years, Usher completed his world tour entitled "The UR Experience." In addition, he completed two seasons as a coach on NBC's Emmy®-winning hit The Voice, where he proved his top-notch coaching ability by becoming the champion of season six.
Realizing that with success comes responsibility, Usher has also proven to be a major philanthropic force. Founded in 1999, his New Look Foundation empowers youth from impoverished communities to become leaders. In recognition of his accomplishments, Usher has been honored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Trumpet Foundation, Do Something, the NAACP and as the 2010 Ford Freedom Award Scholar. Usher's business ventures include a best-selling line of fragrances and a partnership with RBMG (Raymond Braun Media Group).
About The Nancy Lackey Community Education Fund
The first education initiative supports art and music in Chattanooga and Hamilton County's elementary schools by providing for a three-year period (i) a full-time art teacher, supplies, and community programs at Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy, (ii) part-time teaching artists residencies for a limited engagement in up to 30 other elementary schools, (iii) after school programs in local recreational centers and (iv) a matching grant to the high school student led arts council. Partnering with Usher is Hamilton County Department of Education, together with the principal and team at Calvin Donaldson, as well as local nonprofits such as ArtsBuild, and Jazzanooga who created these programs with the local community. In addition, ReGenerate, a student lead organization and Dalewood, Usher’s middle school, were each awarded a three year grant to support their work in the arts. Cause Entertainment Agency, Entertain Impact, advised Usher on this initiative's creation and implementation, working closely with Usher team member Julie Sanders. The grants are being administered by The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga.
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