John Legend is combining his passions for music and advocacy by launching his own campaign to end mass incarceration called FREE AMERICA.
According to the Associated Press, the nine-time Grammy-winner made the announcement on Monday (April 13). As a part of the multi-year initiative, he will visit and perform at a correctional facility on Thursday (April 16) in Austin, Texas. While there, he will also participate in a press conference with state legislators to openly debate the state's criminal justice system.
The "Green Light" singer spoke on the importance of this initiative in an interview, highlighting reasons why it is needed: "We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country," he said. "It's destroying families, it's destroying communities and we're the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration."
In addition to Texas, the Oscar winner will also visit a California state prison and co-host a criminal justice event in collaboration with Politico in Washington, D.C., later this month. Legend, 36, will also be joined by several other artists who share the same passion of ending mass incarceration.
"I'm just trying to create some more awareness to this issue and trying to make some real change legislatively," he said. "There are senators that are looking at this... and I just wanted to add my voice to that."
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(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)