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John Legend interviewed as Variety’s Music Mogul of the Year

He is one of the most decorated artists in the world as he even became the first black man to complete an EGOT which means someone in entertainment who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

And John Legend has added yet another accolade to his already esteemed career.

The 41-year-old entertainer – real name John Roger Stephens – was named Variety magazine’s Mogul of the Year as he touched on several issues including social and political issues, upcoming projects, the status of his record contract, and his relationship with model wife Chrissy Teigen.

Despite John’s achievements he wanted to make sure that it is known that he believes that his 34-year-old wife is responsible for her own success in modeling, as a cookbook author, and social media.

He explained: ‘When it comes to Chrissy, I’m there as a friend, adviser and support system — to talk her up — but she’s running her own show.’

John and Chrissy have both been staunch critics to the way US President Donald Trump has ran the country as they both found themselves at the receiving end of controversy back in September when he tweeted about them and even referred to the Cravings author as the singer’s ‘filthy mouth wife.’

The Ordinary People author did not pull any punches when addressing the man who has lashed out at he and his wife as he said: ‘President Trump is obviously a bigot. He’s been a bigot his entire life. I believe he is a eugenicist. 

‘He’s not capable of leading the country when we have moments of racial unrest and responses to racism. We’re always going to be a weaker nation with him in charge, and it is an urgent priority that he is not in charge.’

Legend also talked about one of the biggest issues facing America regarding policing and criminal justice reform.

He said: ‘We are f***ing up so much stuff on the front end that the only way to clean up our mess is to use the police to contain it, and use the jails to punish and control it. What would be more moral would be to spend money on the front end to make sure that people have the input in their lives that could make them healthier and safer. 

‘That’s the right conversation that community organizers and activists are asking us to have. The wrong conversation is to retrain the same guys to keep breaking the rules and the laws. We’ve tried for decades. It hasn’t worked.’

John has always been passionate about civil rights as at the age of 14 he wrote a Martin Luther King Jr. birthday  essay for his hometown newspaper, the Dayton Daily News in Ohio,  in which he revealed his goal to make an impact on Black history in his lifetime. 

At the time he wrote: ‘I plan to use my social skills and my musical talents to be a positive role model for my fellow African Americans. I envision a successful musical career that will allow me to obtain high visibility in the community. 

‘This, in turn, will put me in a position of great influence, which I will utilize in order to be an advocate for the advancement of Blacks in America.’ 

He released his seventh album, Bigger Love, on Juneteenth of this year which is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States as it came just weeks after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota Police which resulted in Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations around the world.

Of the project, Legend said: ‘Part of the album is about resilience — that love can help us power through hard times. Of course, I didn’t know I was releasing Bigger Love during a pandemic or that, two weeks before its release, there’d be a nine-minute snuff video of an officer killing George Floyd. I didn’t know what landscape I’d be releasing this album into. 

‘I do believe that there is more to the Black experience in America than mourning, anger and outrage. There’s more to our humanity. I was looking for the sound of love in what is a pretty scary time.’ 

John is currently on the last album for his current contract with Columbia Records as it remains unclear if he will be returning to the major label.

Though there is much interest, the artist did not give any indication what his next career move will be as he said: ‘What an artist needs today is not the same as it was when we signed … or even five years ago … For me, recording is about building my legacy and my brand, and using it as a calling card to do other things, like perform live. We can do it on our own; the question is, do we want to? Columbia has been cool. 

‘I’ve been there since the beginning of my career, and we’ve had a lot of success together. Obviously, personnel changes matter — [chairman/CEO] Ron Perry is fairly new there, and we’re getting to know each other — but we’ve had a great run there. Ask me in a year.”’

Meanwhile John has been making waves with his production company, Get Lifted Film Co., which is working on numerous projects including a series based on his adolescence and a recently announced political series titled Paper Gods which stars Nia Long and will air on ABC.

He said: ‘The reason we have success in ancillary businesses beyond music is because we hire really good people and partner with really good people. We hold ourselves and those we work with to high standards. 

‘We come together to create something wonderful and beautiful, be it a song, a film or television production, or something geared toward social and racial justice.’

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