Multi-award winner artist John Legend says his music and his activism often go hand in hand.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi, ahead of a recent performance to mark the fifth anniversary of the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, the “All of Me” star said he has always believed pushing for positive change is part of a musician’s role.
“I was always a fan of artists that used their platform to try to make change in the world, I was always inspired by them, I always thought that was part of what it meant to be an artist,” he said.
“People like Nina Simone and Paul Robeson and Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan and so many others spoke out for what they believed in and wrote songs about it and also funded protest movements, and spoke out for what they believed was right.”
He adds that his focus is on improving communities. The 43-year-old has made numerous charitable contributions. His Show me campaign launched in 2017 aims to break the cycle of poverty.
“Well in the U.S., I focus mainly on improving our communities by investing in them and divesting from things that are harmful like more jails and prisons and more policing, so that’s really been my focus, investing in our communities, trying to make them stronger and divesting from systems that cause harm in our communities.”
Leading up to the midterm elections, Legend posted a picture with former U.S. President Barack Obama on Instagram with a caption reading “Returned to Las Vegas last night to encourage folks to vote.”
Justice, equity and improving people’s lives
To him, social media will remain an important tool to spread his message.
“It’s an open question how long Twitter will even be around, but I think because we’re able to connect with so many of our fans through social media, we’re able to let them know what we’re thinking,” he says.
“I think a politics of love means you believe in justice, you believe in equity, you believe in doing what we can to invest in solutions that will actually improve people’s lives,” he explains. “And so that’s really my politics, it’s a politics of love.”
American singer and songwriter John Legend unveiled the third single of his eighth studio album named Legend, with his music video “All She Wanna Do” featuring rapper Saweetie.
In 2018, the performer lived up to his name and became the first African-American man to ever complete the EGOT, an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award, the four biggest prizes in showbusiness.