Mario and Sean Kingston via jamd
Last week Her Majesty Queen of Sweden hosted Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard, Celebrity Rehab’s Dr. Drew Pinsky, Brittany Snow, America’s Next Top Model’s Paulina Porizkova and hip hop titans Russell Simmons, Sean Kingston and Mario to raise awareness about substance abuse through the Mentor Foundation. Royals from all over the globe, UN officials and other political heavyweights joined 300 other guests to support the organization. The Mentor Foundation’s mission is to provide the international community with substance abuse prevention tools and ultimately, to abolish the global drug epidemic. CGG chatted with Mario, an honoree of the evening, Sean Kingston, and Terrence Howard and got the personal scoop on why these stars came out for the cause.
The crowd was treated to an acoustic performance by Terrence Howard and an energetic set by Mario, who performed his own hits and even serenaded Her Majesty with a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love.” Terrence Howard introduced Mario’s “Global Youth Ambassador” award, which honored Mario for his work through his own “Do Right Foundation.” After witnessing firsthand the devastating repercussions of drug abuse through his own mother’s heroin addiction, Mario was inspired to form the organization to educate youth on the perils of drug addiction.
Mario told us how his mother finally came to give up drugs. “It took a couple years of her wanting to do it,” he said, “The most important thing is to want to do it. Anybody who is addicted to any drug has to want to get over it. They have to strive to quit.”
He also touched on the importance of celebrities teaming up to help President-Elect Obama battle drug abuse in America. “He can’t do it alone and that’s why I think it’s important for young entrepreneurs and artists to get together.”
As a self-described “kid affected by drug abuse at a young age,” Mario ultimately thinks that staying away from drugs just takes a simple look at reality. “If your friends are doing drugs look at the cause and effect. If your parents are doing drugs look at the cause and effect. I know it’s not an easy thing,” he said before adding “Decide if you want that for your life. Know what you want for your future – is that something you see yourself doing in the future?”
Though Sean Kingston, who’s beaming Mom stuck by his side throughout the event, describes an easier upbringing than Mario, he has friends who are struggling with drug addiction and recognizes the importance of a support system in resisting this same path. Sean told us he has a friend who was “just an intelligent kid going to school and then he turned out to be something else,” and insists “he just needs guidance and his mom was never that for him so I was there and I said if you ever need anything you need to call me.” He thinks it’s all about support (and his Mom agreed!) and wants to encourage kids to turn to each other instead of drugs.
And stay tuned for CGG’s chat with Terrence Howard, who talked with us about everything from Obama’s first moves to the chemistry behind drug use.