John Legend is speaking out on the dangers of electing “someone who doesn’t know how to run the government” after longtime friend Kanye West announced his presidential bid.
The “Bigger Love” singer, who performed at a virtual fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden last month, shared a lengthy Twitter thread Monday about the responsibility public figures have to voice their political beliefs.
His comments arrived hours after Chance the Rapper defended West’s run and sparked backlash over a series of tweets, in which he suggested that the Yeezy designer was a more trustworthy candidate than Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
While Legend noted that not all artists should feel compelled to speak out about politics (“If you’re more comfortable just making bops, do that!”), he encouraged those who do to educate themselves first.
“If you are going to speak out, try to do your homework. Read about it. Talk to activists and organizers and people impacted,” he wrote. “Be open to evolution and changing your mind. Be intentional and strategic. And think about the impact of your words on the real lives of real people.”
Without mentioning West by name, Legend plainly stated that endorsing a third-party candidate ignores “real-world implications” at play, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Part of an artist’s job is to imagine a different future. I appreciate the desire to break free from the strictures of the 2-party system in America, for instance,” he continued. “But you can’t divorce that conversation from the real-world implications of rooting for a futile 3rd party bid.”
The ramifications of electing or reelecting an unqualified candidate, Legend said, are “particularly urgent and impactful in the middle of a pandemic that’s been so much more deadly due to an incompetent President.”