Grammy-winning artist Usher credits the Boys & Girls Club of America for making a difference in his life, so the least he could do was lend the group a slightly embarrassing photo of himself as a 7-year-old.
"I can only imagine how many accidents are going to happen in result of this being here," the 30-year-old Usher joked Wednesday as he glanced at a new billboard on one of Atlanta's busiest streets.
With about 20 kids surrounding him, Usher unveiled the billboard with his likeness as part of a national youth advocacy campaign to raise awareness for the club.
The singer's picture also will be used at airports and in public service announcements. He joins others with childhood billboards for the club - Denzel Washington, Shaquille O'Neal, Martin Sheen, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Gen. Wesley Clark.
"This is an opportunity for people to learn more about us," said Roxanne Spillett, Boys & Girls Club of America's president. "I hope this effort can spark more alumni to contribute and become a role models."
Usher, who was a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs for four years in his home state of Tennessee, hopes his billboard can have a positive affect on another child's life.
"It made a difference for me," he said. "Being great doesn't start in the later moments of life. We could be speaking to tomorrow's Barack Obama or Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or Usher. These clubs are valuable to the community. Hopefully my billboard can help inspire someone else."http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_PEOPLE_USHER?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2009-04-30-07-29-09