John Legend is a busy man.
Not only has he just released a new album, Love in the Future, but he’s also getting ready to say “I do.” In addition, he is working hard to fight violence and rape, and he’s sold two television shows to HBO.
But first things first: the wedding.
Legend, 34, won’t divulge when or where but does say it won’t be an “industry spectacle,” and it will be far from prying eyes. “We’re gonna go for the destination wedding,” admits the singer, who is marrying his girlfriend, model Chrissy Teigen. “Celebs who attend will actually be my friends. Most will be family. I’m not trying to have a Who’s Who wedding.”
Typically, weddings eventually lead to kids. Legend hasn’t yet started a family, but children are close to his heart. He spends considerable time pushing educational opportunities for teens and advocating for policy changes that would ultimately benefit school-aged children. “So many things that are wrong in society are because we are not giving kids the roots they need to succeed,” he says. “Every kid deserves a great teacher, and we are not doing enough to make sure this occurs.”
The advocate also isn’t easily swayed by popular opinion. Although Rick Ross is featured on Legend’s “Who Do We Think We Are?” single, he refused to delete the rapper despite his comrade’s controversial song that alluded to rape earlier this year. Says Legend, “People asked me if I [would] take him off the album, but I won’t just disown him like [I] never worked with him before.” He adds, however, “Rape is a serious subject, and as entertainers, our words carry. They’re recorded for posterity."
Legend obviously doesn’t condone rape (one of the charities he supports, A Long Walk Home, actually helps rape victims). But the artist says Ross was the only rapper at that time who was singled out and dropped by endorsers for questionable lyrics. He further acknowledges that regardless, all entertainers need to uphold standards, and shame on those who learn the lesson too late. “The higher you get,” he notes, “the more people pay attention to what you say.”
Legend quickly shifts to another of his favorite subjects. His Get Lifted Film Company has finally sold two shows: How to Be Black, based on a book by satirist Baratunde Thurston; and Down Lo, about a rapper based in South Beach. “Obviously, my main focus is music,” he says, “but it’s fun to get involved in creating other forms of entertainment.”
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Senior Editor, EBONY Magazine