Directed by Dominque DeLeon and produced by Kelsey Gilchrist and Angel Rosa, the “Preach” video addresses several hot-button issues which continue to plague citizens living in communities all over the world. Powerful images and pleading lyrics touch on tragic global concerns like police brutality, mass shootings, families being torn apart by U.S. border issues and much more.
In the video opener, Legend is seen getting up from laying in bed with his wife, Chrissy Teigen. The song starts off with the Grammy-winning artist singing about trying to shut out the ongoing stream of bad news by turning off his phone.
Legend is in church in several scenes, including one in which he sits in a pew as if to pray. He’s heard singing “And heaven knows I’m not helpless/But what can I do?/Can’t see the use in crying/If I’m not even trying to make the change I wanna see.”
In other gripping scenes, a young black man gets pulled over by police and gunned down, with his family and friends eventually gathering and crying at his funeral.
Legend issued a heartfelt video statement on Instagram, prior to the “Preach” video release saying, “I grew up in church and one of the things we talked about was loving our neighbors as we loved ourselves. My preacher told me that our neighbor wasn’t just the person that lives next door to you but other people whom you may not even know.” (See the post below).
Near the end of the music video, Legend leads a protest rally while wearing a black robe bearing a pair of crosses near his chest. He is eventually put into the back of a police car, presumably arrested.
Legend’s resounding point is loud and clear both in the song lyrics and the hashtag beneath the YouTube video: #CantJustPreach.
The “All of Me” singer-songwriter notably launched a fundraiser on YouTube in conjunction with the "Preach" video. According to Billboard, Legend's was the first video to ever utilize the feature on the popular social media platform. The Ohio native superstar is seeking to raise $50,000 for his FREEAMERICA campaign in this effort, which is aimed at helping “to transform America’s criminal justice system." Find out more about making a donation here.
Legend is effectually challenging his fans and viewers everywhere to donate to help the cause in the new YouTube initiative. He's also emphasizing the video's strong message to not just sit back and preach about how bad things are, but to take a stand for social justice, to take real action to effect change.
The “Preach” music video also marks Legend’s first music video since his run of cheerful holiday videos to support his first-ever holiday album, A Legendary Christmas, which dropped last October. Legend followed up the album with a holiday tour and his first-ever holiday TV special.
Legend also notably made history in 2018 when he won a Primetime Emmy Award for his starring role as Jesus Christ in NBC’s adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” Legend is the first black man to achieve EGOT award status and the second youngest person in history.
Watch John Legend’s “Preach” music video above and stay tuned to AXS for John Legend updates.