Following the Ferguson and Eric Garner grand jury decisions, John Legend penned an op-ed in Billboard magazine about race relations in America. The Golden Globe-nominated singer shed light on a history of racial inequality that is still holding back people of color.
“While it is important to recognize and acknowledge racial progress through the years, it is also clear that we are far from King’s dream of equality and justice for all,” he wrote. “The problems of structural racism are old and ongoing.”
In his op-ed, Legend explains how structural racism, like job and housing discrimination, continues to hinder Black progress. He also points to America’s racially biased criminal justice system as a pressing problem for the Black community.
“African-American communities are being crushed by a criminal justice system that over-polices us, over-arrests us, over-incarcerates us, and disproportionately takes the lives of our unarmed youth because of the simple fact that our skin, our blackness, conjures the myth of the hyper-violent negro,” he wrote.
Legend called upon his fellow musical artists to speak up about racial injustice by using social media as a platform.
“I am part of generation of artists who benefit from unprecedented access to our fans,” he wrote. “Our actions, or lack thereof speak louder. 140 characters canon excuse us of our obligation to stand up, sit in or march forward.”
Ultimately, it seems Legend is asking that government, celebrities, and individuals to continue to demand that race relations evolve in this country.
“Our government is a democracy, by the people and for the people. It is time for the people to wake up, stand up, and demand change.”