*John Legend is speaking out about using his platform to raise awareness about social justice, specifically the passage of voting restrictions in several states across the country.
“An urgent issue is making sure we actually have a democracy that is accessible to everyone who’s eligible to vote,” Legend said in a new interview with Footwear News. “There are a lot of forces out there lying about what happened in the last election and using that as a pretext to take people’s voting rights away and or make it much harder for them to vote with the intent of suppressing their vote. I feel like the most urgent concern for Americans should be, are we going to have a real democracy where we try to make it as accessible as possible for everyone to vote and actually respect the results of those elections?”
Legend has also been an advocate for ending mass incarceration through the FreeAmerica organization he founded in 2014.
“I’ve gotten involved with a lot of those issues around reforming the criminal justice system,” he added. “That’s something I continue to work on. But I think, honestly, the most urgent priority is are we going to have a democracy or not? And hopefully, all of us who care about the people’s voices being heard in our government, we’ll fight for that.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, the Grammy-winning artist touched on working from home amid the pandemic, and home-shooling the two children he shares with wife Chrissy Teigen.
“I don’t usually write when I’m on tour, so not being on tour means I’ve been more creative,” Legend said. “It means I’ve been writing more songs. It means I’ve been able to engage with creative ideas more. It gave me more time to focus on this [Sperry collaboration]. I think I’ve been more creative during this time than I normally would be because I’m not running around as much.”
Despite the constraints of COVID-19, the R&B crooner was able to team with Sperry over Zoom to design a new shoe collection.
Here’s more from Footwear News:
Now, he’s preparing for the release of his debut collaboration featuring three distinctive styles due in fall, including the Sperry x John Legend Boat Shoe — Sperry’s first cupsole boat shoe — which is intended to be Legend’s everyday relaxed style. There’s also a 7-eye lace-up Sperry x John Legend Commodore boot designed for his casual weekend wear and a Sperry x John Legend Tall Boot — a 10-eye lace-up with a medial side zipper on a Vibram outsole that can be worn with his designer suits.
“I’m glad they were willing to do something a little different with us. We tried to tie it to some shapes and soles and styles that they already had, but make it new and fresh, and clearly reflective that it was a collaboration,” Legend said about the Sperry team.
“I’m always trying to look good for her,” he said of his wife, “and that’s part of my inspiration — just wanting to look good next to her because she’s always going to look good,” Legend explained. “I feel like with all these styles, I feel confident standing in them next to my beautiful wife.”
The release date for Legend’s new shoe line is Sept. 15, and prices will range from $120 to $250 at select retailers and on Sperry.com.