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Um, John Legend? Can We Talk About Your Hypocrisy?

If you watched the Oscars, you’ll have seen this bring-the-house-down performance by John Legend and Common.

When they won the Oscar, they had this impassioned acceptance speech.

Struggle for justice. Compromised voting rights. The US is most incarcerated country in the world. More people of colour in jail today than there were under slavery in 1850. March on for justice and freedom!

Noble words. So why did Legend accept a gig to perform in Bahrain, a Middle Eastern country run by repressive regime with a dismal human rights record? The paycheque he must be received has to be astronomical.

Then there’s this from the Washington Post:

Pointing to an article Legend wrote for Billboard last year that spoke about how he felt as post-Ferguson protests spread across the country, Lynch asked Legend to put those thoughts into Bahrain’s political context. “Bahraini lives have been taken by the police with impunity as well, and Bahraini lives do matter,” Lynch wrote.

“I hope that you will think deeply about the implications of performing in a country like today’s Bahrain, where the violence of an unaccountable police against peaceful protestors mirrors everything against which you have spoken out at home.

Okay, so why go? “Legend’s answer: “[It’s my] mission in life is to spread love and joy to people all over the world.”



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38524 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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