John Legend says his family members "could experience [the] same thing" as George Floyd

By Georgia Slater
June 18, 2020 03:25 PM
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Matt Baron/Shutterstock

For John Legend, hearing about the death of George Floyd was something that really hit home for the singer.

In a preview of Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist, which airs June 21, the "All of Me" singer opens up to the anchor about his reaction to the killing of Floyd — an unarmed black man who was killed at the hands of a white police officer — and how it reminded him that it could have been one of his own loved ones in the same position.

Geist asks Legend what his thoughts were after watching the harrowing video of Floyd's death, sharing that many of the anchor's friends have told him, "'What you have to understand, Willie, is that I see myself under that officer's knee. I see my dad under that officer's knee.’"

“Well, we do see our family members when that happens,” Legend says. "My younger brother has a son, who's 19 or 20 years old, and I could see him in moments like that having a misunderstanding with officers."

The artist — who shares daughter Luna, 4, and son Miles, 2, with wife Chrissy Teigen — admits that he worries for his family members, especially his nephew.

"I worry for, particularly once they hit a certain age and their body is deemed as threatening to other people, they could experience that same thing," he tells Geist.

George Floyd

Floyd was killed on May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while other officers held his body down. Floyd was recorded saying repeatedly that he couldn't breathe, then he fell still with Chauvin still kneeling on him.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter; three other officers at the scene have also been charged with second-degree manslaughter and aiding and abetting a second-degree murder.

As protests over Floyd's death and racial injustice continue to rally across the nation, Legend says he hopes his upcoming album, Bigger Love, will bring a sense of hope to the country.

“I think we've seen so many images of Black people in mourning and outrage. I feel like this album is kind of an antidote to that,” the singer shares. "Though this album wasn't written in response to what happened just now, I think we could all use a lift right now and some love right now and some joy.”

Bigger Love is set to drop on Friday.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.