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Friday, June 03, 2011


John Legend

“The issue I think about the most right now is the education reform. And, we need to make sure every kid around the world and including here in America gets a quality education. Because if we don’t have that, then there’s no escape from poverty..."

Born John Stephens, on December 28, 1978, John Legend  had a series of big-time collaborations before he burst on the music scene as Kanye West's protege with his first solo hit, Ordinary People

While in college, Stephens was introduced to Lauryn Hill by a friend. Hill hired him to play piano on "Everything Is Everything", a song from her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Stephens released his debut album, Get Lifted, in December 2004. It debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, selling 116,000 copies in its first week. It went on to sell 2.1 million copies in the United States and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Legend released his second album  Once Again on October 24, 2006 and released his third studio album Evolver in October 2008. His latest project, Wake Up! was released in September 2010. If you don't already have that album, you can listen here.  Legend has won a total of 6 Grammy awards including his 2006 award for Best New Artist.

After visiting South Africa and seeing people living in extreme poverty, the singer became determined to be more than just another artist. He started the Show Me Campaign, a nonprofit organization that fights poverty using proven solutions. Believing that equal access to quality education is the civil rights issue of our time, the Show Me Campaign fights for education reform in the United States. In Africa, Show Me works with Millennium Promise to provide clean water, health care, education and other basic tools that break the cycle of poverty.

Here are 5 facts you may not know about Mr. John Legend (please note this list is not exhaustive): 

1. In May 2007 he partnered with Tide laundry detergent to raise awareness about the need of families in St. Bernard Parish, (Slidell, LA) one of the most devastated areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. He spent a day folding laundry at the Tide "clean start" mobile laundromat and visited homes which Tide is helping to rebuild in that community.

2. In 2009 he  gave AIDS Service Center NYC permission to remix his song "If You're Out There" to create a music video promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and testing

3. He is  the National spokesperson for and has performed benefit concerts for "Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). MLT is a national non-profit organization that has made ground-breaking progress assisting the next generation of African American, Hispanic and Native American leaders in major corporations, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial ventures.

4. On September 8, 2010, John Legend joined the national board of Teach for America. Legend also sits on the boards of The Education Equality Project and the Harlem Village Academies, and serves as co-chair (with Rupert Murdoch) of the Harlem Village Academies’ National Leadership Board.

5. In 2011, he contributed the track "Love I've Never Known" to the Red Hot Organization's most recent album "Red Hot+Rio 2." The album is a follow-up to the 1996 "Red Hot+Rio." Proceeds from the album sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues.

Watch the video below to hear his message to the graduates of the Kean University class of 2011. 

BONUS: John Legend is also giving away 40 pairs of tickets via GetGlue for his tour with Sade this summer.  Find out how to win here.

It is clear that John Legend is not only writing checks, he is lending his time and ideas to fight for a cause he believes in. His efforts to motivate others to do the same is also a cause worth noting.

For his philanthropic efforts and his success in music, Talented Generation honors John Legend!! *Salute* 

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