Why These Celebrities Were Given The ‘Key To The City’ – TheThings

Being given a key to a city is an honor for extraordinary people with an extraordinary contribution to the particular hood. While it’s not exactly a key that opens a city’s gate, it’s still a nice gesture, especially for those who have done so much for the city. Some people put the city on the map thanks to their contribution to music, films, or other performing arts, while others simply helped the city during a dark time for its citizens.

With that being said, these celebrities are prime examples of how one could be given the key to the city. For example, Usher, who is of Atlanta native, received his honor after his tremendous philanthropic efforts to rebuild the city of New Orleans after the deadly Hurricane Katrina. Here are other celebs, in addition to the R&B king, who have received the key to the city and how they did so.

6 Paul McCartney Received The Key To Austin, TX

Paul McCartney has been an avid spokesperson of veganism. Since becoming a vegetarian in 1975, the powerhouse singer has been an advocate of green eating for decades, performing on the stage of charity concerts and supporting many awareness campaigns over the years. To recognize his contribution, Mayor Lee Leffingwell of Austin gave the singer the key to the city and honorary citizenship.

“The influx of forward-thinking musicians and techies, the thriving university, and the food trucks all over the city run by young veg-friendly hipsters have made Austin the absolute cutting-edge place for green eating,” the former Beatles frontman wrote, shortly after receiving the award.

5 Kendrick Lamar Was Presented The Keys To Compton, CA

Kendrick Lamar has been proudly repping his hometown of Compton, California, so much that he dedicated a whole album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, to the city. It is, in fact, the birthplace of many hip-hop greats like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube of N.W.A., Coolio, The Game, and more. In 2016, Mayor Aja Brown presented him with the key to Compton for his dedication to hip-hop and putting the city on the map.

“It’s the biggest thing. It’s really not about how famous I get, it’s really about me utilizing my platform and giving it back to these kids because that’s what I wanted as a kid,” said the Pulitzer-winning artist. “Everything that I do is a reflection of how I felt when I was younger.”

4 Usher Was Given The Key To New Orleans, LA

Usher was given the key to New Orleans thanks to his contribution to restoring the community after the deadly consequences of Hurricane Katrina back in the 2000s. The Grammy-winning R&B artist even pulled up with dozens of volunteers to clear the city’s streets and schools and dedicated a good sum of money through Usher’s Foundation for the victims.

“To see it, in this state, it’s devastating,” said the Atlanta native back in 2006, as reported by CBS. “I’m here to physically do something and hopefully motivate other people to do the same.”

3 Michael Jackson Received Numerous ‘Keys To The City’

Michael Jackson was so beloved that he received numerous “keys to the city” accolades throughout his life. The King of Pop received the keys to Las Vegas and his hometown of Gary, Indiana, back in 2003. Even after his death, the Thriller singer joined his Jackson 5 brothers posthumously to receive the key to Detroit, presented by Detroit police chief James Craig during the Detroit Music Weekend Festival back in 2018.

“We used to come play the Fox Theatre amateur nights, trying to make a name for ourselves,” Marlon Jackson told Billboard about the special bond between the Motor City and the Jackson 5. “So the Jackson 5 and Motown goes back many years… There’s some synergy there with the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons and Detroit.”

2 Big Sean Was Presented The Key To Detroit, MI

Another recipient of the key to Detroit, rapper Big Sean scored history as the youngest recipient of the honor. The rapper, who’s of Detroit, Michigan origin, was awarded the key to his native thanks to his contribution through the Sean Anderson Foundation. Earlier in April 2017, the rapper launched “Mogul Prep,” a series of small workshops to teach low-income students about the business side of the music industry.

“[The mayor] honored me and my foundation for motivating the city through my music [and] messaging and starting an actual curriculum called ‘Mogul Prep’ that teaches kids all the behind the scenes jobs available in the music industry and taught to them at a high school level,” said the rap star, as noted by Rolling Stones. “This will be applied to Detroit Public Schools come this fall and some schools in Baltimore and more.”

1 Dr. Dre Has The Keys To Compton, CA

Before Kendrick Lamar got his hands on the honor, there was Dr. Dre who received the key to his native Compton. Mayor Aja Brown acknowledged Dre’s entrepreneurial achievements after he was in talks to sell his Beats Audio company to Apple in a deal worth up to $3.2 billion with the key to Compton back in 2014. According to TMZ, he and Interscope boss Jimmy Iovine donated a whopping $70 million to develop a music and business curriculum at the University of Southern California in LA.

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Rafly Gilang
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A journalism student, a part-time blogger, and a freelance writer for many websites.

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