Big Sean reveals how his grandmother inspired him to help the youth of Detroit


Big Sean gives back to his community in a big way. Born and raised in Detroit, the G.O.O.D. Music rapper has returned to his roots, to launch the Sean Anderson Foundation, aimed at improving the lives of youth in the Michigan city. He credits this move to the “positive influences” in his life.

“Growing up in the city I was lucky enough to have somebody in the community who was a positive influence for me,” he told PEOPLE magazine. “I was lucky to have my mom, I was lucky to have my grandma, these were all tremendous, smart people.” The 27-year-old continued, “What I wanted to do was just provide opportunity for the kids who don’t have that insight, who don’t really know the type of positions that they can get in to.”

According to the foundation’s homepage, Anderson’s vision is “simply to make the lives of young people better. I want to be an inspiration to young people by showing them that hard work and determination pay off, to be an example of what can happen when you follow your dreams, and to be an instrument of encouragement for us all to help ourselves and to support one another. Detroit and the entire country have shown me much love, and I passionately want to return that love.”

They’ll do this by supporting local charities in initiatives combating youth homelessness, improving educational resources and providing arts programming. If you ask us, Anderson has become the epitome of “One Man Can Change The World.

“It’s the way I was brought up,” he explained as his reasoning for returning to his stomping grounds to give back. “My mom and my grandma, we grew up in debt, we had no major opportunities and we always donated to the Salvation Army, we were always in church giving back.” A tradition so to speak, he alongside his mother continue today, despite the loss of his loving grandmother. “My mom, she’s definitely the brains behind the operation, she really dedicates 100 percent of her life to it and she’s the reason why it has progressed so much. [She’s why] we’ve been able to do things around the city that no one else has been able to.”

And while his beloved grandmother passed some time ago, he tells PEOPLE, “I feel her presence more than ever, I feel like she’s always with me,” Anderson says. “She always just kept it positive. All the little things she used to tell me I listened. When I pray at night, when I meditate in the morning, when I do all those things I always think about her.”

Anderson first launched the Sean Anderson Foundation, in honor of his grandmother, Mildred V. Leonard, who was among the first Black female captains in World War II and later became a police officer and a teacher. Anderson fulfilled a long ago promise made to his grandmother to return to The Motor City and give back in a big way. We can say ‘mission complete!’

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