Harry Belafonte was known for being an ardent supporter of the early Civil Rights Moment. Now 90, he still advocates for several political and humanitarian causes, including the anti-apartheid movement and serves as an ACLU ambassador for juvenile justice issues.
More than 50 years his junior, John Legend has raised his voice push for social change on a variety of issues including the Black Lives Matter campaign. Belafonte raises special attention to this in his Time tribute to the “All of Me” singer.
“John uses his platform to push for meaningful social change, and the depth of his commitment is to be admired,” writes Belafonte. “He has visited prisons to raise awareness about mass incarceration—the new slavery—and he spoke out about the importance of Black Lives Matter at Sankofa’s Many Rivers to Cross festival, which I helped organize. I hope John continues to grow as an artist and an activist.”
Legend notably won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2015 for writing “Glory” for the 2015 film “Selma,” which chronicles voting rights marches in 1965. The song, which is a collaboration with Common, is about overcoming adversity and serves as a beautiful backdrop to the historical, dramatic events that unfold in the film.
Legend addresses the current “fear vs. love” global climate in a riveting video attached to his Time 100 tribute. He adds, “I’m concerned about what’s happening in America when it comes to race and racism.” But, he notes he is buoyed by the marches and activism he’s seen from people all over the country.
He calls Belafonte out as one of his influences, along with Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. At this stage in both artist’s careers, Legend is arguably a worthy candidate for icon Harry Belafonte to pass his artistic and activist torch to.
You can read Harry Belafonte’s entire Time 100 tribute to John Legend here and watch John Legend's Time 100 video below.
Find John Legend tickets and more information here at AXS.