Lost amidst the Nicki Minaj-Miley Cyrus call-out, Kanye West presidential run quip and Cyrus outfit change stories from the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards was the fact that they actually saluted someone trying to do some good as well. Specifically, Detroit musician Big Sean won the Best Video With a Social Message for his super-smash "One Man Can Change The World" featuring West and John Legend.
The video for "One Man Can Change The World," which has already achieved 9.14 million views on YouTube since it was released in June 2015, is an affecting four minute, 14 second narrative shot in stark black & white by director Andrew Hines which follows a young boy as he has to navigate through gang members and police in hardscrabble inner city Detroit.
The win was Big Sean's first VMA award, which he accepted while accompanied by the song's feature acts West and Legend. Sean said it was inspired by his grandmother.
"I gotta thank John Legend, I gotta thank Kanye for hopping on this song 'cause it meant so much," said Big Sean. "Part of this song is partially dedicated to my grandma Mildred Virginia Leonard, she was one of the first female black captains in World War Two, one of the first female cops in the streets of Detroit. She got her masters at U of M, she was a teacher, a counsellor.
"I’m talking home cooked meals everyday after school. She made crazy accolades. And one person to show me that one man — man being human being, male or female — can change the world, so I gotta dedicate this to her. "
Big Sean also made a point to single out West for signing him to his GOOD Music record label, which has increased his profile and allowed him to do more work with his Sean Anderson Foundation.
"I don’t know if y'all know the story but Kanye discovered me, put me on," said Big Sean. "I've been doing a lot of good stuff around my city with my foundation. If you hadn't opened the doors for me I wouldn't be able to do the stuff I’m doing. So thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. Making my dreams come true. I love you."
The Sean Anderson Foundation's mission statement is "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."
The Grammy Award-nominated rapper has used the foundation to support initiatives such as the Salvation Army's annual "Coats for Kids Drive," providing dinner for 50 families at Thanksgiving and his "12 Days of Christmas Guap Giveaway." In 2012 Big Sean also served as "Principal for the Day" at Warren, Michigan’s Lincoln High School to salute them winning the stay-in-school Get Schooled Detroit Attendance Challenge.
Watch "One Man Can Change The World" ft. Kanye West, John LegendNike KD 11