John Legend on how art can be a tool for change

The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards winner spoke about his song “Never Break,” his production company Get Lifted, and why making unapologetically Black content is crucial for him.
4:39 | 03/03/21

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Transcript for John Legend on how art can be a tool for change
To John Legend art and activism go together like the black and white keys at his fingertips. He believes songs are capable of creating transformative change. And for him. Music serves as a soundtrack of a resilience at a time when his heart. And all of our hearts are breaking. Here's ABC's Adrienne brink. When we talk about a reckoning. We can't do the reckoning without. Doing a real assessment of what American history has been America promised all these ideals. The black people were like eight but what about us you told us. It was about the quality wouldn't you told us that all men and women were treated equal you told us we had equal production and has the law. But you can fulfill that promise and we are evidence of that black movement saying that for centuries. There have been generations. Singing about it sounds like we shall overcome. For just as long. John Legend is no exception or are. Carl. Using in things like alluring beauty who root for the film's Selma to connect art and activism. For him it's about storytelling from his hit single ordinary people. To the intimate ballot all of me. You. He aims to connect with his audience can connect them to reach out. Her eye level art because art helps us envision a new world. It helps us become closer to each other helps us each other's humanity. With George fully staffed and so many other things that happen. Was your heart breaking I mean what what were you thinking at first I was just mad and grieving I hate. This repeated story that there's so much a part of black Americans experience I wanted to stop so we contributed to bell funds and then I tried to be a part of a conversation in the country where we talked about. What we do to do better we spent. Far too much on law enforcement. On jails and imprisons them black people been bearing the brunt of that. When you were growing up. Were you thinking all the time like I'm gonna make the world a better place I'm in a change things. I did that you do. I didn't think this I even wrote an essay about it when I was fifteen I said I'm going to be a successful musician. I'm gonna use that success and fame and acclaim to make my community vetted and it was informed by the artist that I loved like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin but it is also informed by date that activists that I have been reading thousands I was a kid they were my superheroes. And I wanted to live a life that was impact polite they do. The message of impact can be found at his film company gets lifted and the stories that he and his producing partner Mike Jackson have shared. Their diverse slate of content highlights the created and creators. Better and apologetic when black. We want to elevate certain creators that may have been overlooked. You know me and that meant no money no good. They're documentary giving voice Paula students from across the country like Chicago native and the Asarco. As they compete in the August Wilson monologue competition. I was struck not eaten in. Theater can really transform and I mean really I felt like people were seen need for the first time. Now so that's a write a song for it so caught never break a song about. Human resilience in the power of love to get us through all the challenges that we face in our lives. You're going to be singing this song. Never break press what is continuing. To breathe life into that song for you. I wrote the song between nineteen and then everybody knows what Tony Tony brought. It drives. So many challenges to the world in that it brought challenges to multifamily. We lost a baby. That was a time when that song never break really meant the most to me because. We've never been tested like that and I think we've come out even stronger than ever. Hopefully it can do that for other people no matter what challenges like present your way to be optimistic to believe that you can make it happen. You've got to be resilient you gotta be persistent.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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