In a recent interview with Complex touting his new musical, La La Land, John Legend opened up on the controversy surrounding Nate Parker to the protests spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem.
When asked about Kaepernick’s protest, Legend said, “I think it’s great that he’s talking about it. I don’t understand why people are upset. But I do understand, actually. They’re always upset when you protest these things. People only like it in retrospect…. They’ll police your protest more than the things you’re protesting against, which is the real [source of] oppression. I feel like people are doing the same thing with Kaepernick.”
He later added, “The reality is he’s protesting black men and women—people of color—getting shot by police when they’re unarmed, and those police facing no consequences. Just think how tragic that is for a society: that the state can kill you with no repercussions. We see it on video—we know the person is unarmed, poses no threat—and they’re killed with no repercussions. Think about how corrosive that is for a society if we allow that to continue to happen? You’re upset that he’s kneeling down in peaceful protest, but you’re not upset by what he’s protesting against?”
He also spoke to Nate Parker’s comments following the reemergence of the controversy surrounding a 17-year-old rape case against him. Parker has spoken about never having learned consent.
“Yeah, I did read that. Clearly there’s been a mythology built around black masculinity that sees us as sexual predators — more violent, more impervious to violence being enacted upon us. You see that in the way we’re treated by the police. You see that in the way our sexuality is depicted. Obviously that is a concern. I don’t know how you undo those stereotypes — how you undo the many years of indoctrination,” Legend admitted.