John Legend’s “In America” Song Invokes Hope For Real Change

Music

John Legend is wide awake when it comes to the racial torment African-Americans still face everyday in America. Not long after collaborating with Common for their award-winning song “Glory,” Legend is back at it with his new record called “In America,” which was inspired by WGN’s new series Underground. With the help of songwriter Dave Tozer, the crooner,visits the heinous treatment people of color often face while living in this “free country.”

“‘In America’ was born around the same time I was working on my most recent album Darkness and Light,” Legend said in a press release. “It’s a song I was writing while thinking about the duality of America, where it’s known to be this place of freedom, equality and where anyone can make it. The song points out the tension between the promise of America, the ideals of America, and sometimes us not living up to those ideals in practice. ‘In America’ was perfect song for Underground, a series I’m incredibly proud to be a part of, and one that does a beautiful job of portraying a challenging time in our nation’s history while reminding us that change is possible.”

on the song, Legend encourages people to keep their hope alive while claiming the land they work so hard to make a life in. “I poured my sweat in America,” Legend sings. “This land is my land, it’s America/I broke my back for America/All the money I make, all these chances I take/Just paying my rent, in America.” He also cites acts of violence in the name of hate as a plague that has permanently impacted the American culture.

“In America, in America/ I still can’t breathe in America,” he sings. “Watch them squeezing my neck/ Watch them bullets connect/ We still gonna fight in America.”

“In America” appears in Season Two of WGN’s Underground, in which Legend serves as a producer. The Grammy award-winner will also have a cameo role as Frederick Douglas in an upcoming episode that airs April 5.