Belfast Telegraph

Legend: I want to mobilise change with music

John Legend won’t be running for office any time soon, as he hopes his music can inspire political change instead.

The 36-year-old singer recently launched his Free America campaign, through which he is hoping to positively affect the justice system in the United States.

But he won’t be running for office any time soon, instead hoping that the power of his lyrics will help influence his fans.

"I like to sing, I like to write songs and I like to use my position as a singer, as an artist to mobilise people for political change, but I think this is the best way for me to do it. I don't think I need to run for office to do it," he told Entertainment Tonight. "I have a great opportunity being where I am, having the influence that I have, and I don't want to waste it."

John is hoping to enlist his celebrity friends to help him with the Free America cause. Explaining the reasons behind the campaign, John said he is making it his mission to “end mass incarceration”.

"We are the most incarcerated country in the world," he said. "We have more people locked up than anyone else in the world, any other country - no matter how repressive or oppressive we think their regime is - we have more people locked up than them."

In terms of specifics, John is hoping to encourage changes when it comes to how the justice system treats those with addiction or mental health issues.

And he has hope that the system can be changed for the future.

“A lot of this is impacting neighbourhoods like the one I grew up in," he said. "A lot of black and brown communities are bearing the brunt of the impact of this and it's all the result of policies that have been enacted over the last 40 years, policies that have been [racking up sentences] for all kinds of crimes, including nonviolent ones, the war on drugs.

"We believe there are smarter ways to do this, more compassionate ways, ways that don't destroy communities and destroy families, and we're trying to advocate for those.”

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From Belfast Telegraph