By AMBER AINSWORTH, A&E Editor
Big Sean first started topping charts in 2011, but this year has proved that he is a hard-hitting player in the Detroit music scene with concreting his place among some of the city’s most talented rappers. His work both in the studio, onstage and in the community have propelled him to a position of power and influence on Detroit.
On Nov. 6, Sean (born Sean Anderson) held his homecoming show at Joe Louis Arena, selling out the venue and bringing a stellar group of Detroit talent onstage. Dej Loaf, Royce da 5’9″, Danny Brown, Trick Trick, and even Eminem joined him, making headlines with a live performance of last year’s “Detroit Vs. Everybody.”
A series of photos posted to Sean’s Instagram account enthusiastically showed just how much the show meant to him, with one of him and Eminem captioned, “You can imagine how it must feel growing up in the D, and making it this far!” He also noted that it is a start of a new chapter in his life. And it certainly is.
The show was followed up with an announcement that Sean will be performing during halftime of the Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving game, another prideful Detroit notch in the rapper’s belt.
Sean is no stranger to the charts and his 2015 Dark Sky Paradise is no exception, as it topped the Billboard 200, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and Rap Albums after its March release. It sold over double the copies his 2013 Hall of Fame sold, with singles off the album topping multiple charts before the full album became available. The numbers speak volumes combined with a show that was absolutely huge for the rapper’s career that has been growing since releasing his first mixtape in 2007.
Beyond the music, the city of the Detroit gains so much more than entertainment from the award-winning rapper — since 2012, Sean has been giving back immensely to the youth of the city where he was raised. In fact, he donated all of the proceeds from his show in Detroit to The Sean Anderson Foundation, which aims to “assist in the education, health, safety and well-being of Detroit Area school aged youth as well disadvantaged youth in other areas across the nation.”
His philanthropic efforts have also earned him awards as he pushes to improve the life of children living in Detroit. He has donated money to help a Detroiter pay for college, has worked towards social change through his participation in various events, and even opened a recording studio in his former high school, Cass Tech.
It seems Sean is always busy with something that will make a difference — whether it’s donating food to families, helping kids attend events that are both fun and educational, or providing school supplies to students in need, he has been a powerful champion for change.
“One Man Can Change the World,” a single off Dark Sky Paradise, even plays into Sean’s foundation, as he encourages the importance of random acts of kindness. Inspired by his grandmother, sharing posts showing these random acts with the hashtag “#ittakesone,” not only allows the community to take action and get involved, but also potentially win prizes such as concert tickets.
As he continues to grow as an artist and gain publicity, his work to be a positive change is constantly growing. Though he is making huge strides as a musician, what Big Sean does off the records and outside of the studio may be one of the most important things he ever does with his career; a passion for music and a passion for improving lives is a driving force in both his musical endeavors and his life.