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John Legend Honored at First-Ever Grammys’ Black Music Collective Event

The EGOT singer-songwriter shared how important Black music has been to the world.

The incomparable John Legend was honored with a Global Impact Award for his musical and philanthropic achievements Saturday, Apr. 2 — the night before the Grammy Awards — thanks to the Black Music Collective and its homage to the culture that has influenced the world.

Developed by Riggs Morales, the Black Music Collective is an advisory group of top-tier music industry leaders who challenge conventionality and speak openly about new and emerging opportunities in Black music. Legend, who also serves as an honorary chair member alongside Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, Jimmy Jam, and others, is committed to making the BMC a central hub for artists and creating lasting change within all genres under the Grammy roof.

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The night was full of tributes and performances from the likes of Summer Walker, Cordae, Jimmie Allen, and Chloe Bailey, who surprised audiences with her special guest appearance and stunning black dress. LVRN (Love Renaissance), DJ D-Nice and, of course, John Legend had their contributions to music highlighted as flowers being gifted served as the night’s ethos.

Legend, the EGOT winner and night’s recipient of the Global Impact Award, explained upon taking the stage how Black music has set trends for listeners across the globe. “I’m proud to celebrate and honor and cultivate our music,” Legend said at the event, which took place inside the newly built Conrad Hotel in Las Vegas.

“Black music is and has been the rhythm, the root, the inspiration, the innovation behind so much of the world’s popular music. It doesn’t exist without us," he said.

Legend would applaud the efforts of those whose shoulders he stood upon while thanking the Black Music Collective for driving Black representation and inclusion within the industry. Ahead of the Apr. 3 show, the Grammys telecast, and the Recording Academy have been very vocal about its focus on amplifying Black voices after years of backlash regarding racial inequality.

“Our art and music can help movements find their footing and voice,” Legend said. “Our art and music can help activists, the people closest to injustice, and lead the way forward to equality and opportunity.”

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Earlier that night, MC Lyte was presented with an award by Saweetie, and spoke about how Black women’s accomplishments have been largely overlooked, but won’t be now that the BMC has more Black women in the forefront and behind the scenes. “There’s no conversation about the past, present, and future of hip-hop without women,” she said.

“The playing ground has not been level, but I’m proud of the progress we made. Despite the continued injustice and inequality in our industry and society at large, there’s no better time to be a Black creator than now.”

D-Nice also recognized John Legend’s impact through the creation of his wildly successful Club Quarantine, sharing with the movers and shakers of the industry that it was Legend who helped ignite the wave of acclaim and new followers during the early days of the IG Live broadcast party.

“Club Quarantine is not really about D-Nice, the deejay,” he said. “It’s about a community. People come together and they share conversations in the chats. I’m just in the background trying to create a space to feel comfortable to get together. I say this as I said before ‘Black music saved the world.’”

The 64th Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, April 3 (4/3/2022), at 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS, and will be available to stream live on fuboTV, Paramount+ Premium, and other live streaming services.

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