Many people were surprised by Kanye West’s announcement last week on July 4 that he plans to run for president during the 2020 election. Now, West’s good friend, collaborator and fellow Grammy winner John Legend is weighing in on the matter.
The singer-songwriter shared an extensive Twitter thread on Monday (July 13) where he talked about a question that he gets asked often by reporters. Legend openly talked about the duty and responsibility that public figures have when standing behind their political beliefs.
“Ummmmm not necessarily,” the Grammy-winning talent answered. “It ain’t for everybody.”
“If you are going to speak out, try to do your homework. Read about it. Talk to activists and organizers and people impacted,” the “Bigger Love” artist wrote in his first series of tweets. “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.”
While he did not actually mention his longtime friend by name, Legend stated that endorsing a third-party candidate simply overlooks “real world implications,” as it closely relates to the sudden coronavirus 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 went on to write. “But you can’t divorce that conversation from the real world implications of rooting for a futile 3rd party bid.”
The entertainer wrapped up his thread to say that running for president is “not merely an intellectual exercise. It’s life and death.”
This is not the first time that the “Jesus Walks” duo has disagreed over politics. Back in 2018, West leaked a private text message between him and Legend about his political views on Twitter.
“So many people who love you feel so betrayed right now because they know the harm that Trump’s policies cause, especially to people of color,” Legend reportedly texted West. “Don’t let this be part of your legacy.”
Since the public clash, Legend recently told told The Times in May that they have moved past their political rifts.
“I don’t think we’re less friends because of the Trump thing. I just think we’re doing our own thing,” the singer said. “He’s up in Wyoming, I’m here in LA. We’ve both got growing families and I no longer have a formal business relationship with him as an artist, so I think it’s just part of the natural cycle of life. But obviously we disagreed on the Trump thing and we still do apparently.”
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