We love John Legend for his, ahem, legendary music catalog and vocal prowess as an R&B artist. His art, whether in the song form or another manifestation of inspiration, has won over our hearts and earned him the title of EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards). Legend was also the first Black man to reach EGOT status.
Now, Legend is continuing to use his platform to speak out on a topic that’s outside of the music world: the criminal justice system. In an op-ed Legend wrote for USA Today, the artist expressed a sense of urgency when it comes to the justice system in the United States.
“I’ve been working on criminal justice reform for almost a decade, and I’m often branded as pursuing a ‘radical’ agenda,” Legend opened his article. “People ask me whether the movement to end mass incarceration or elect progressive prosecutors is going too far. That accusation always strikes me as odd – that a future where all people are treated fairly and guaranteed their basic rights, where people are provided mental health or drug treatment instead of incarceration, is somehow extreme.
“On the contrary, the status quo is radical. America remains the most incarcerated nation on earth while simultaneously having intolerable levels of gun violence and overdose deaths.”
In the opinion piece titled “It’s not radical to dream of a more free America, or to protect our basic rights,” Legend addresses the need he sees for progressive prosecutors. Legend isn’t new to the activism scene, he recently spoke out about gun violence in Chicago, which you can read about HERE. But in his latest article, he speaks about public safety and the uncertain status of Roe v. Wade while also offering a hopeful narrative for the future.
“It’s easy to feel hopeless about the state of our country when so many radical policies are becoming the norm,” he wrote. “But everyday Americans have a real opportunity to help change the system by electing reform-minded prosecutors who will create safer communities and a more just system.”
Then concluding his article, Legend stated, “It’s not radical to dream of a more free America. And it’s possible to protect our basic rights – to choose what to do with our bodies, to vote and protest, to protect our kids’ health – by choosing the right prosecutors to enforce our laws.”
Read the full op-ed HERE.
Photo Courtesy of Headspace