John Legend used his time on stage at the Global Citizen Festival to be a voice for those who speak up about sexual assault, reports the Hollywood Reporter. He was introducing his new song, “Preach,” before he performed it at the festival, and the theme of the song ties into what he had to say.
“I wrote this song recently, it’s not out yet. It’s called ‘Preach.’ In the song we talk about how frustrating it can be to look at your phone, read the news, see what’s happening,” he told the audience assembled in Central Park. “See how senators treat women who come forward with sexual abuse claims. See how people ridicule young people who march for the right to go to school without getting shot up. See how people would denigrate those who make the very simple claim that black lives matter. We can get frustrated when we see all of that, but we can’t give up. It’s not enough for us to talk about it or tweet about it, we’ve got to do something.”
He received screams and applause during his statement and said that he was extremely inspired by people who take action when he was writing it. He said that rather than just preaching about what should be done, people need to take action and get involved if they really want to enact social change.
Legend has been incredibly outspoken in his support of women’s issues in general. Lately he has been particularly vocal in his support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault and called for an FBI investigation before he is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.
Legend tweeted his support for Dr. Ford and disparaged Kavanaugh, as he apparently watched the proceedings at home. Legend also appeared in an ad speaking out against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Legend himself follows his own advice. In addition to speaking out, he runs an organization called Free America. The charity aims to promote awareness and dialogue about the criminal justice system and criminal justice reform. He also encouraged audiences to vote, saying that it is important not only to talk the talk, but to walk the walk. The upcoming midterm elections are hugely contentious as Democrats attempt to overcome the Republican majority in Congress.
The concert was an event to raise money and awareness for sustainable development and end extreme poverty.