Artist and activist John Legend feels a duty — in the vein of role model Nina Simone — to reflect the times in which we live through his work. In a video interview with TIME, Legend talks about the nexus of his art and activism, the political climate under Donald Trump and why he remains optimistic for the future of the United States.
“I’m concerned about what’s happening in America when it comes to race and racism,” Legend says. “Obviously I was very disappointed with the outcome of the last election. I feel like our current president and the regime that works with him is actively working to take the country in the wrong direction.”
Still, the singer says he has been inspired by seeing Americans come out to protest the current administration and a spike in political activity since the election.
MORE See Who Is on TIME’s List of the Most Influential People of 2017
“I’m also heartened by the response that the American people have shown,” he says. “I’ve seen the activism on the street. I’ve participated in marches. I’ve seen really a surge of interest in the political system and how ordinary people can get involved in the political system and make change happen.”
- Donald Trump Was Just Indicted. Here's What to Know About the Charges and the Case
- What Could Happen Next for Donald Trump
- Trump's Indictment Drama Showcased His Rivals' Weakness
- Inside Ukraine's Push to Try Putin For War Crimes
- Bad Bunny's Next Move
- Elon Musk Signs Open Letter Urging AI Labs to Pump the Brakes
- Eliezer Yudkowsky: Pausing AI Developments Isn't Enough. We Need to Shut it All Down
- 'How Is This Still Happening?' A Survivor Questions America's Gun Violence Problem
- Cheryl Strayed Will Always Be Here for You
- Who Should Be on the 2023 TIME100? Vote Now