Big Sean may be one of the most likable rappers in the world. He's definitely beloved in his native Detroit.
The Cass Tech graduate, along with his mother, Myra Anderson, have been regularly giving back to Detroit in one form or another since the early days of his career. Whether through a partnership with Adidas that installed a studio in his alma mater, or the Sean Anderson Foundation that makes gifts throughout the city all year long, the GOOD Music rapper enjoys doing good for others.
“I'm into giving back and doing it properly, doing it the right way,” he said during a roundtable discussion with reporters earlier this week. “Doing it in a way that it makes a difference, not just that it look good. We got to make a real difference and change some people's lives and give them opportunities to go and do better and go further.”
When he was approached to join McDonalds for their Black & Positively Golden Mentors Program, he was impressed by the sincerity of the multinational conglomerate. “I saw how much they wanted to be a part of changing someone's life and changing other people's lives... they wanted to be so involved and uplifting the Black community, I just respected it,” he said.
“Because a lot of big corporations are always like that, they usually like to do things very surface level, the bare minimum, but I literally got the opposite. So, I'm truly, for real, for real excited, and happy to be a part of it.”
McDonalds introduced Sean to his mentee, Nyla Lewis — a Michigan native who wants to pursue a music career.
During their mentoring session, the Grammy-nominated rapper shared advice on navigating the music industry. Nyla was also surprised with a computer decked out with professional music editing software, and gifted another mentor session with Roc's Nation digital, marketing, and artist management representatives, courtesy of Big Sean, McDonald’s and its franchisees.
Nyla said the experience has encouraged her and put her closer to a dream she’s had since elementary school.
During the roundtable event, Big Sean talked about how being a part of the mentor program was significant for him especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The message I would like to leave is that, in a year, like we had, where we lost so much, not only do we lose family members, people we love, heroes, icons, too soon. We also lost a lot of our freedom to travel the world or to be able to maneuver and some of us lost jobs, some of us lost careers, some of us lost our whole lives. And when I say lives, I mean, you know, their whole life's work,”
he said, “When you go through these moments, and you realize that, OK, where in a time like this, you got to wonder, like, is this a cocoon and we ready to come out of it and be bigger, brighter and brighter, and an elevated version of ourselves. We got to understand that. When things like this happen for a reason, what is the reason, and maybe the reason is to go explore the inner space a little bit, to see the things that you always wanted to do like to do them.”
Sean encouraged people to take what remains of this time to make changes in themselves for the better.
“The changes you wanted to make in your life, the habits you wanted to set, the habits you wanted to break, like, maybe this is your time to do that,” he said, “And we'll never have a time like this again, probably, I don't think so. I think once this is over this will go down in history, and we'll look back on it, you know, 30 40, 50 years from now, and our kids and grandkids and kids, kids will have to be writing reports about it.”
He added, “I think that stay strong, take care of yourself, get yourself right. And that's what I would just say (to anyone listening) you know, be you, be strong and get your life together, man. Quit playing around and get your life right.”
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.