John Legend was given a worthy title as a “musician on a mission” this weekend during his interview on CNN’s State of the Union. Sitting down with host Jim Acosta, Legend delved into the “Black Lives Matter” mantra of recent protests against police brutality and his work with FREE AMERICA, a movement against mass incarceration.
“For too long, the criminal justice system, implemented by the police, but not solely run by the police, has treated black people as though our lives are not as valuable, as though we are enemies in our communities rather than community members,” he said. “And we need our police to look at us as community members that they care about and want to keep safe and healthy and treat us with the same fairness that they would treat any other person.”
The singer also discussed the disparities between law enforcement’s treatment of black and brown citizens versus the rest of the population. Acknowledging that said differences have led to poor communities of color suffering from incarceration in large quantities, Legend vowed to try and get President Obama more involved in legislative efforts.
“I’m going to push the president to get more involved in criminal justice reform. I’m going to suggest some ideas that we think could help improve the situation,” he said. “But a lot of it has to do with state and local governments, as well. That’s why we went to the statehouse in Texas. That’s why we were in Sacramento with Gavin Newsome, because a lot of these laws are enacted on the state level. And so we need state by state change, as well.”
Watch John Legend’s full appearance on CNN’s State of the Union here.