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V Exclusive: John Legend Speaks On Joining The GIVE Education Campaign: 'We Have A Crisis In Our Country'

Last week (July 19), Grammy award-winning singer John Legend joined Communities in Schools (CIS) and Proctor & Gamble in announcing the launch of the GIVE Education campaign in a press conference in New York City  that featured a performance by Legend and the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF) Champions Chorus Club from M.S. 390 in the Bronx.

 “What I learned about the education gap in America is that too often, your zip code, your family income, your race, can determine the quality of your education. I knew I had to get involved,” said Legend, who created the “Show Me” campaign that uses education to break the cycle of poverty, sits on the board of Teach for America, the Equality in Education Project and the Harlem Village Academies.

“My passion was heightened even more when I learned about the solutions that are out there working. 

The GIVE Education campaign was developed to help increase awareness of the national dropout rate and help over one million students stay in school.  Not only does a student drop out of school every nine seconds of each school day, but it was found that one-third of high school students and about half of minority students fail to graduate on time. 

Starting Sunday, July 31, GIVE Education brandSAVER coupons featuring John Legend will be distributed in newspapers all over the nation.  P&G (provider of brands such as Bounty, Puffs, Duracell, Pantene, Tide and Olay) has promised to donate two cents to CIS for every GIVE Education coupon redeemed. 

CIS provides mentoring, tutoring, family and career counseling, food, healthcare and other services to limit distractions prohibiting students’ advancement. Because the dropout crisis and low scholastic performance is closely related to homegrown issues and finances, the organization focuses on the lowest performing schools and students who are most likely to drop out.  CIS has over a 90 percent retention rate and is looking to expand.

In a one-on-one with VIBE, John Legend talks about his educational background, partnership with CIS and P&G, influences behind his passion for education, touring with Sade and his upcoming album. Check it out! --Aliya Faust

VIBE: What is your educational background?

John Legend: Well I grew up in Springfield, Ohio. I was home-schooled a little bit. I went to public school for a couple of years, and then I graduated from a public school called Springfield North High School. I went on to graduate from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Education has been really important to me in broadening my horizons, showing me that there's more to the world, and giving me the opportunity to be where I am now.

I just learned you're on the board of other educational organizations. So, what motivates you to become that deeply involved in education?

Well, I know that we have a crisis in our country--particularly in our community. Far too many kids are dropping out of school. Poverty is still persistent in our communities, and I know education is the surest way out of poverty. You know it, I know it. Too many people in our neighborhoods aren't getting the education they need. They're getting lost in the system. They end up in the criminal justice system too often. And a lot of times it's because they start off with the wrong foundation. We need to make sure more of our kids have that right foundation. 

How'd you hear about the GIVE Education campaign?

P&G approached me about CIS and the great work they were doing and said, 'Would you like to get involved?' and I said "Yes." P&G is a company with great reach and great influence in the communities, and Communities in Schools is doing amazing work that's proven to improve the dropout rate--proven to keep more kids in school. And it's very much aligned with what I care about. 

What would you say influenced your choice in becoming an advocate for education and helping shape a better America?

I've always been inspired by people who've did big things. When I was younger I used to read about people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, people who spoke out when they cared about something, people who spoke for justice like Nelson Mandela. And even though I knew I always wanted to do music, I also knew that if I was going to be a successful musician, I wasn't going to just be famous and rich. I was going to use that fame and those resources that I have to actually help somebody. And that's what I'm trying to do.

Sounds good. You're on tour with Sade right now. How's that going?

It's going beautifully. I'm having fun. It ends on September 12. We just extended it a week. [The next stop is] New Orleans on Friday. 

And I hear you're working on a new album?

I've been working with Kanye, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Jerry Wonder, a few other producers. We were working a lot in the spring before the tour started, and we're going to do a lot more in the fall to finish. But we hope to put it out in early 2012.  (SASF) Champions Chorus Club from M.S. 390 in the Bronx.

To learn more about the GIVE Education campaign, visit In the meantime, check out the SASF Champions Chorus Club from M.S. 390 in the Bronx and John Legend's performance at the press conference:

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John Legend Partners with Bottled Water Company 'HINT' 

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Drake And Odell Backham Jr. Sued For Orchestrating Violent Attack On Man

Drake and NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are reportedly being sued for allegedly orchestrating a violent attack on a man in a West Hollywood club, TMZ reports. According to court docs obtained by the celeb site, Bennett Sipes is accusing Drake and Beckham of telling their entourage to beat him up after a brief confrontation.

Sipes claims the incident occurred in the VIP section of the Delilah nightclub after he began to argue with Drizzy, Beckham, Kourtney Kardashian's ex-boyfriend Younes Benjima, and the rest of their crew. A source close to the incident claims Sipes was "talking smack" at the time. When he attempted to exit the area, Sipes alleges that Drake gave him the "cut throat" gesture.

When the victim entered the bathroom, he was attack by Benjima and Drake and Beckham's friends. The whole fight was caught on video, showing Benjima throwing the first punch at Sipes. Drake and OBJ are also seen on camera watching from a distance.

Sipes reportedly filed a police report following the incident, but dropped it shortly after. He is suing OBJ, Drake, Delilah and others other for an undisclosed amount.

Check out footage from the attack below.

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A Judge Has Closed Off The Second Floor Of R.Kelly's Chicago Studio

A Chicago judge ordered the second floor of R.Kelly’s studio to be shut down. The 52 year-old musician, who is now under criminal investigation stemming from a slew of allegations of physical and sexual abuse against a bevy of women, initially used the warehouse as a place of work, but apparently as a residence as well.

The judge on the case mandated that the warehouse can only be of use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to CBS Chicago, an inspection took place at the property on January 16, which revealed the property has bathrooms, bedrooms, a kitchen, a full bar and lounge area.

Because the building is zoned for commercial use only, all the evidence found suggests that people indeed inhabit the premises.

“We did find bedrooms with bathrooms. Inside the bathrooms there was evidence of toiletries, robes, and it appeared that people were living in the property,” Kimberly Roberts, deputy corporation counsel said. “In addition to that, the stairs were dangerous.”

Another form of evidence found in the property was a staircase, which allegedly was not properly secured to a wall. Ultimately, the deficient staircase can become a major fire hazard if an emergency were to occur on the premises. In response to the findings, Judge Patrice Ball-Reed mandated that the second floor be closed until the staircase is repaired.

“There’s no plan to suggest how this was built out. There hasn’t been one inspection by a city inspector to verify the work was done properly, and being out there, it’s obvious that the work was not done well, which leads us to concerns about public safety,” Ball-Reed said. “If a fire breaks out with that lack of fire separation, the entire warehouse can go up.”

Still, R,Kelly’s attorney Melvin Sims said that despite all that was found, his client does not use the studio as a residence but only as a workplace. “A facility on the premises does not a residence make. A couch on the premises does not make it a living room,” Sims said. “Obviously, you have attorneys and judges, and we are interpreting how a creative space is to be used, and we’re probably the least creative people inclined to do that.”

A follow-up hearing will take place on February 7, where another debate will take place to see if the studio will remain open in any capacity.



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Lil Wayne Teases "Don't Cry" Music Video

Lil Wayne is gearing up for another music video release. The rapper recently hopped on Twitter on Tuesday (Jan. 22) to share a preview of his upcoming video for his single "Don't Cry."

The 34-second trailer features Weezy lounging in both desert and glacial atmospheres. The camera also pans to a montage of video vixens before transitioning to a religious-inspired scene.

"Don't Cry" is included on Tunechi's latest project, Tha Carter V, which was released in 2018. The song features the late XXXTentacion, whom was killed in a drive-by shooting in June 2018.

Wayne and X never had the chance to meet prior to his death. Weezy was introduced to the artist's music through Mack Maine. "That was my big homie Mack’s idea. He came to New Orleans to do something for like a day or two, and he came back and said I have something I want you to hear. That was the first time hearing my mom on the song, so when he played that, then he played the song," Wayne revealed during his 2018 CRWN interview. "May he rest in peace... Y’all know I don't listen to nothing but myself cause I work too much, so I didn't know who XXXtentacion was. So Mack had to explain the whole story to me right then and there. I had to Google and all that and I found out, figured everything out. It was easy. It wasn't such a thing as yes or no, it was let me get my verses together."

The "Don't Cry" music video doesn't have an official release date at this time. Check out the teaser below.

Koming soon !!

— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) January 22, 2019

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