As John Legend was honored for his musical achievements on Saturday – the day before the Grammy Awards – the singer used the Recording Academy stage to pay homage to a black musical culture that shaped him and the world of music at home. wider.
Legend opened up about how black music has set trends for listeners around the world, speaking at the academy’s Black Music Collective event in Las Vegas, where he received the Global Impact Award for his personal achievements and professionals in the music industry.
“I’m proud to celebrate, honor and nurture our music,” Legend said at the event held the day before the Grammy Awards.
“Black music is and has been the rhythm, the root, the inspiration, the innovation behind much of the world’s popular music. It doesn’t exist without us,” he said.
The multi-Grammy winner applauded the efforts of the Black Music Collective, a group formed in 2020 of prominent music industry leaders – including honorary presidents of Legend and producers Jimmy Jam and Quincy Jones – who seek to finding ways to foster Black representation and inclusion. The academy has focused on amplifying black voices after years of backlash over racial inequality.
Like Legend, the event was filled with empowering messages that spoke about the importance of recognizing the creators of black music. It also featured a host of popular performances including Chloe Bailey, Muni Long, Jimmie Allen, Cordae and Summer Walker.
Legend says black music has the potential to fuel justice and inspire communities.
“Our art and our music can help movements find their place and voice,” he said. “Our art and music can help activists, those closest to injustice, and pave the way to equality and opportunity.”
Saweetie, who presented an award to MC Lyte, explained how the achievements of black women have been downplayed, but their impact on culture has been undeniable. It has women who have been at the forefront of hip-hop as rappers, producers and others behind the scenes.
“There is no conversation about the past, present and future of hip-hop without women,” she said. “The playing field hasn’t been level, but I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. Despite the continuing injustice and inequality in our industry and society at large, there’s no better time to be a black designer than now.
The event highlighted the productive efforts of LVRN, a black-founded record label that has built a solid roster including 6lack, DRAM, Boogie and Summer Walker.
MC Lyte was honored for being the “beacon of hope” for black women, while D-Nice was recognized for his success through Club Quarantine. He says Legend helped spark the flood of new followers early on.
“Club Quarantine isn’t really about D-Nice, the DJ,” he said. “It’s about a community. People get together and share conversations in chats. I’m just in the background, trying to create a space to feel comfortable coming together. I say this like I said before “Black music saved the world”.