|Nine-Time Grammy Award Winning Singer John Legend, also an actor and accomplished song writer from Springfield, Oh.|
|United States President Barack Obama|
|Above, Legend plays and sings some of his music at a campaign event in Ohio in support of United States President Barack Obama|
Legend, 33, talks music, politics, Republican pushed voter suppression state laws in Ohio and elsewhere, gay marriage, reproductive rights, the necessity of the Black vote, and his upcoming marriage to model Chrissy Teigen.
And he talked just a little on Kanye West, and yes, the beautiful Kim Kardashian, Kayne's new girlfriend.
The Grammy award winning pianist and keyboardist got his start singing back-up vocals for Alecia Keys and Lauryn Hill, and sang with other famous musicians including West, and other rappers like Jay-Z and Andre 3000. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English.
Legend won three of his Grammy awards in 2011, including best R and B album for 'Wake Up,' a project he did with the group The Roots, and best R and B song for 'Shine,' a popular cut on the album. He has an estimated net worth of $15 million, and has made acting appearances on popular television shows such as Sesame Street and Dancing With The Stars.
Cleveland Urban News.Com Associate Publisher and Editor Kathy Wray Coleman:
I’m Kathy Wray Coleman of Cleveland Urban News.Com.John Legend:It’s a pleasure. Cleveland Urban News.Com: It’s a pleasure to talk to you too. And I have with
me our copy editor Marc R. Churchill,and he will be
asking you some questions also.
John Legend: Okay Cleveland Urban News.Com: Are you ready to go? John Legend: Ready when you are. Cleveland Urban News.Com: Let me first thank you for this interview. John Legend: My pleasure. Cleveland Urban News.Com: You will be 34 -years- old this year, I understand. John Legend: Yes, in December. Cleveland Urban News.Com: You’re still a young man. Did you graduate from
Springfield High School? John Legend: I went there-Springfield North High School. Cleveland Urban News.Com: So you’re an Ohioan? John Legend: Absolutely, born and raised... Cleveland Urban News.Com: So Springfield is 30 miles east of Dayton? John Legend: Yes, it’s about 25 to 30 miles east of Dayton. Cleveland Urban News.Com: You attended college at the University of
Pennsylvania? John Legend: Yes, I graduated from there back in 1999. Cleveland Urban News.Com: What degree did you earn? John Legend: I majored in English, with a concentration in
African-American literature and culture. Cleveland Urban News.Com: Why are you supporting President Barack Obama? John Legend: I have supported him for two elections now. I
believe in his vision for the country. I agree with
his polices on just about every major issue. I
believe that he has done the right things when it
comes to trying to extend the opportunity for
health care and education to more and more Americans,
no matter where they come from.
I believe that given the choice between what the
president envisions for the country and what the
Romney-Ryan ticket envisions for the country, that
there is really no competition. The president
deserves my support, and I’ll continue to
fight for him to get re-elected. (Editor's note:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the
Republican Party nominee for president and Wisconsin Congressman John Ryan is Romney's vice presidential
running mate. Obama is the nominee for the
Democratic Party and is seeking another four
year term along with Vice President Joe Biden).
Cleveland Urban News.Com: So you support the president’s policies? How do you
feel about his personal view on supporting gay
marriage? John Legend: I support it wholeheartedly. I was glad that
President Obama publicly showed his support. I have
very good friends who want to get married. They
have every right to get married as far as I’m
concerned. If you believe in equal rights, then you
can’t choose which people you like enough to give
equal rights to.
Cleveland Urban News.Com: Is there anything you like about Mitt Romney? John Legend: I like Massachusetts Mitt Romney. He seemed like a
decent guy. He extended health care to an entire
state in a plan that was a model for Obamacare, and I
think that was a good idea. Unfortunately, the
Massachusetts Mitt Romney decided he wanted to kill
himself (chuckles). Thus, a new Mitt Romney emerged.
Cleveland Urban News.Com:
Would you say that Mr. Romney’s choice of Wisconsin
Congressman Paul Ryan as a [vice presidential]
running mate is a suggestion that he is insensitive
to diversity and is taking our country back to the
1960s when White men ruled?
John Legend: I don’t think he is insensitive to diversity, but
he is insensitive to the needs of the poor and the
working class. I think that his policies are
following the theory of trickle down economics,
when trickle down economics has been proven not to work. It's the idea that if you give rich people as
much of a tax cut as you can, then the money will
magically trickle down to the rest of the country.
Cleveland Urban News.Com: Is it a better vision for the music and
entertainment industry? John Legend: I don’t really think about it in those terms.
I’ll be fine regardless. I think it will impact
so many people, if you think about health care for
instance. Right now, under Obamacare, as the law
rolls out, so many more poor people will have access to affordable health care then have been able to
in the past decade. But if Mitt Romney becomes
president, he has promised to repeal that.
The Romney-Ryan team and their policies on women’s
reproductive rights are vastly different than the
president. They want to get into your bedroom and
decide if you have access to birth control. Their
economic policy is vastly different from the Obama
Cleveland Urban News.Com: Do you support a woman’s right to choose abortion? John Legend: Absolutely!
Cleveland Urban News.Com: Ohio is so very pivotal in the upcoming election.
Are you going to throw any free concerts for the
John Legend: I am going to do as much as I can. I’m fully aware
of the importance of Ohio and how much we need to get
the Black vote.
Cleveland Urban News.Com:
Why do you think Mitt Romney has raised $186
million in comparison to President Obama’s
$126 million? Thirty-three millionaires have
given him over $250 thousand a piece, while
data show further that the president has only
gotten some $250 thousand from three millionaires.
Why do you think this election is so close?
John Legend: They are donating based on what fulfills their
interests. They know that if Mitt Romney is
elected, he is going to cut their taxes even
further. So it’s a good investment because the
average millionaire will get a $250 thousand tax cut.
Cleveland Urban News.Com: They’ll get their money back? John Legend: Correct.
Cleveland Urban News.ComAs you know the Republican dominated state
legislatures across the country have passed or are
attempting to pass state laws that suppress the Black vote. How do you feel about it?
John Legend:Well, I think it’s a tragedy. Lately, the
Republicans have been admitting that they just
want to suppress certain votes to win the elections
for their side.
In Pennsylvania, you saw that one of the state
politicians there stated that the state's voter
identification laws would help Mitt Romney win. In
Ohio, the state official stated that he didn't want
to extend voting hours in the Democratic communities
because he didn't want to do anything to help Black
It’s a clear violation of equal rights.
Cleveland Urban News.com:Thank you Mr. Legend, I will now turn it over toMarc Churchill [Then Cleveland Urban News.ComMarketing Director and Copy Editor takes over fromKathy Wray Coleman, the associate publisher andeditor]
Cleveland Urban News.Com Marketing Director and Copy
Editor Marc Churchill: I want to congratulate you on your three Grammy
awards for your album 'Wake Up' because it seems
that a lot of that album’s message still pertains
today. Are you still voicing the anthology that
comes from that album?
John Legend: I certainly do believe in the spirit of that album.
I’m fighting to help end poverty and all these things. I care about these issues. Though I write a bunch
of love songs and a lot of songs about relationships,
some of my music is about our place in society.
[Churchill then turned the interview back over to
Cleveland Urban News.Com Associate Publisher and
Editor Kathy Wray Coleman]
Cleveland Urban News.Com Associate Publisher andEditor Kathy Wray Coleman:
Both you and Kanye [West] are dating non-Black
women. Is that a reflection that we’ve become more
tolerant? As a Black man do you think that the
country has become more tolerant on interracial
relationships? Are you married yet?
John Legend: I’m engaged actually. Cleveland Urban News.Com: You’re engaged? Congratulations! John Legend: I am getting married early next year. I think
generally that people that are my age or younger are
starting to breakdown a lot of those barriers and
don’t see that as a major issue on how we interact
with each other. Now we just fall in love. Cleveland Urban News.Com: Do you attribute your success at all to Kanye West? John Legend: Absolutely1! He has been very helpful to my career.
He has been an advisor, a mentor, and a collaborator.
And we are working together on my new album. Cleveland Urban News.Com: Have you been out to dinner with Kanye and
Kim Kardashian? John Legend: Alright, we’re done now. Thank you very much Ms.
Coleman. Cleveland Urban News.Com: Okay (laughs), and thank you. John Legend: Bye-bye.
Reach Cleveland Urban News.Com by telephone at 216-659-0473 and by email@ email@example.com . Reach Marc Churchill by telephone at Cleveland Urban News.Com@ 216-659-0473 and by email@firstname.lastname@example.org