Singer, songwriter, vocalist and actor Ne-Yo has one more thing to add to his list of accomplishments: inductee into the Boys & Girls Club of America’s Hall of Fame.
The newly-minted vice president of the soul division of Motown and co-star of “Red Tails,” which will be released on DVD on May 22, was born Shaffer Smith in Arkansas and grew up in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada.
He and his sister Nicole, found plenty to keep them occupied at their neighborhood Boys & Girls Club. And the Grammy-winning recording artist has become an active alumnus of the Club. For example, he hosted his nonprofit foundation’s 3rd Annual Giving Tour at the Lied Memorial Boys & Girls Club, personally delivering MP3 players, bicycles, toys, and big hugs, to more than 500 deserving youth at the Club.
He also routinely visits Clubs in different cities when he travels and participates in the Club’s anti-bullying initiative.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Ne-Yo said the Club in Las Vegas provided him a respite from bullying and healthy male role models.
Ne-Yo began his music career as a songwriter, writing material for Youngstown while still a teenager. His breakthrough hit was Mario’s “Let Me Love You,” in 2004.
One of his more recent collaborations has been with Conor Maynard, a British pop sensation who has been likened to Justin Bieber. It was a YouTube cover of Ne-Yo’s “Beautiful Monster” – which scored 1 million-plus views – that caught the Grammy winner’s attention and persuaded him to invite Maynard to L.A. for some studio work earlier this year.
Ne-Yo also teamed up with Calvin Harris, whose “Let’s Go,” reached number two on the UK singles chart over the weekend.
“Back in the day, Motown was on the pulse of young America. It was pop, it was R&B, all of that,” Ne-Yo told Complex magazine in a recent interview.
“They looked at my career and the artist that I’ve become. I feel like I am one of the few people who draw the line. I could do a record with Jeezy and turn around and do a record with OutKast.
“Not a lot of cats can do that. As far as the new roster, we got a lot of acts that we are really excited to know and get hands-on and make sure that your interests come out right.”
Also being inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame this week is Misty Copeland, the first African-American female soloist in more than 20 years at American Ballet Theatre.
Copeland, who appeared alongside Ne-Yo, Denzel Washington, Kerry Washington, and Jennifer Lopez last fall in the Boys & Girls Club’s nationally televised PSA, took her first ballet lesson on a basketball court at the Boys & Girls Club in San Pedro, Calif., at the age of 13.
Now, she will make history in June as the first ever African-American ballerina to perform the role of the Firebird at a major mainstream ballet company.