John Legend Reacts To Charleston, Confederate Flag And A Broken System

“All Of Me” singer John Legend has spoken out loud and clear on social media about the events of the past week that have once again caused controversy across the United States. In the wake of the mass murder that took place in a Charleston church last week Legend has added his voice to the many U.S. citizens who are questioning the state of race relations. Legend has spoken out about the Charleston murders and the suicide of Kalief Browder on Rikers Island. Legend has also demonstrated his support for those who believe that the Confederate flag is now a symbol for racists.

Shortly after the news about the mass murders that took place in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston Legend took to Twitter to say simply that his “heart hurts.”

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Legend has followed up that post with a series of messages to his 7.1 million followers that, either directly or indirectly, highlight the issues of gun control, racism and the inappropriate use of the confederate flag.

Legend retweeted a message showing South Carolina governor Nikki Haley smiling whilst holding a shooting an assault rifle and a handgun, presumably to highlight that the governor opposes gun control, an issue that has once again come to the fore after the murders last week.

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Legend also retweeted a number of messages from those who see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racist hate. Legend shared one such message that suggests that South Carolina’s legislature is ignoring the obvious when it comes to the roots of racism in the state.

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Many people are outraged that the South Carolina Capitol building was still flying the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston murders. There have been protests, reportedly by mainly white crowds, demanding that the flag be removed. Legend has used social media to support those protests.

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Legend’s comments on the issues surrounding Charleston are not the first time in recent weeks that he has raised social issues. According to Time, Legend wrote an article in Vulture attacking what he describes as “a broken system.” Legend’s article highlights the case of Kalief Browder, a young man who spent three years incarcerated on Rikers Island after he was accused of stealing a backpack. He was never tried for the crime.

Legend explained that Browder had no history of mental illness prior to his arrest but he killed himself after being released, deeply scarred by his experiences. Legend states that Browder “died because our system is broken,” and he called on lawmakers to act now “to stop tragedies like this in the future.”

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]