John Legend Gives Emotional Speech About Trump's Refugee Ban: 'Our America Is Open to All Dreamers'
Before introducing La La Land at the 2017 Producers Guild Awards on Saturday night, John Legend did “something [he] wasn’t even supposed to do.” Reacting to President Donald Trump‘s executive order temporarily banning all refugees from entering the U.S., Legend gave an emotional speech about his feelings on the state of the nation.
“Now, this is a moment and we’re all worried about what’s happening in our country,” the 38-year-old star said to the crowd (which included pal Justin Timberlake) gathered together at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “I won’t pretend that La La Land is a political film, but I do want to take a second to talk about what’s happening in our country right now. This is a film about love, about dreams and about this lovely city we call home, Los Angles, California.”
He continued, explaining the history of the city and its hosting of immigrants from all over the world.
“Los Angeles is the home of so many immigrants, so many creative people, so many dreamers, and those of us who work in this business have the privilege of shaping how the world perceives this country we love. We are the voice, we are the face of America.
“Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions. Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump. And I want to specifically tonight reject his vision and affirm that America has to be better than that.”
His emotional speech went on as he described that he and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, almost didn’t make it to the event.
“My wife and I were a little bit conflicted about being here tonight when we know what’s happening in the streets, we know what’s happening at LAX and the airports around the country, but we came here tonight,” he said, referring to the pro-refugee protests at airports nationwide. “But we also wanted to put our money where our mouth is and we made a donation to the ACLU and to other organizations who are committed to fighting for freedom in the land of the free.”
He concluded his speech with a plea to the crowd to do their part in the wake of this controversial executive order, which suspended entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the U.S. for 90 days for nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
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“There’s a lot of money and power in this room, and I hope you all will use it for something good. Let’s all continue to stand up together for what is right.”
Shortly before the event, Legend tweeted about the ban and said, “Shame on America. Shame on Donald Trump.” He went on to retweet several posts about the ban.
Teigen, 31, shared similar sentiments when she tweeted, “Donald Trump is an unwell, evil human being. To the core.”