Usher spoke to the jubilant young participants of his New Look Foundation event Wednesday night at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the campus of Emory University, headquarters of this year’s World Leadership Conference.
“Passion and purpose is everything. It leads to success,” the R&B star told the crowd. “There’s a beginning and an end to everything. The end depends on how much you put into it.”
He was joined for a panel discussion, moderated by E! News correspondent David Burtka, by NFL player turned analyst Michael Strahan and Jonnie Penn and Dave Lingwood from MTV’s “The Buried Life.”
“It’s a privilege for us to sit here. We’re not that far removed from you,” said Strahan, who said establishing a post-football career path was key to his success. “Football was never my one thing I could do. You have to fight against people’s perceptions about being good at one thing.”
He remained animated during the event, saying, “I’m borderline crazy. I say stuff, but I work hard.”
He also vowed to “hit a note” during the night and made good on that promise. Here’s a video of him breaking into song toward the end of the discussion:
Usher urged the young people in his program to take advantage of the opportunities before them.
“It’s important to be very aware of where you are right now,” he said. “These moments you’re not going to get back. These are the moments you have to make a difference in your entire life story. Exercise the options you have right now because you won’t have them every day.”