Grammy-winning R&B singer John Legend was recently named a recipient of the Freedom Award by The National Civil Rights Museum. The Freedom Award recognizes those in the public eye who have made significant contributions to civil and human rights. Legend received the award for “using his influence and resources to promote social justice and equality,” according to the museum. Although he’s done work to improve access to education, poverty eradication, and so much more, NYMM wants to highlight all the work he’s done for gender equality. These are our reasons for making him our badass man of the week:
SPEAKING OUT AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE
In January of this year, Lifetime released Surviving R. Kelly, a docu-series that explores the many allegations of sexual abuse against R&B singer R. Kelly. John Legend was the only musical artist who appeared on the show to empower the survivors and condemn Kelly, an artist that he’s personally worked with before. When asked why he chose to appear in the series, he replied: “I knew that as a celebrity, I could lend my voice to something that would highlight these young people who have been hurt and give them a voice.”
BEING AN AWESOME PARENT
Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, has been subjected to plenty of hate and judgement from mommy-shamers. Although she is often unbothered by the comments and deals with trolls like a pro, her husband is right there with her when it comes to shutting them down. Legend pointed out that he received no hate when he and his wife took a night out without their then-newborn baby, while Teigen suffered a slew of attacks on social media. He continues to emphasize that parenting is a two-person job, saying “This is our job together. We’re both parents and we make it work. He tells shamers that if they’re going to blame Chrissy for ‘bad parenting,’, they should blame him, too.
BEING AN AWESOME HUSBAND
After their first child was born, Teigen opened up about her struggles with postpartum depression. John Legend not only expressed massive support for his wife, but also dished out some advice to other men whose wives are in a similar situation. “You have to be present. You have to be compassionate,” he says. He often regards respect as the secret to a long and happy marriage.
SUPPORTING WOMEN WHO SUPPORT WOMEN
Legend has always been vocal about supporting women’s advocacy groups. He has openly expressed support for Melinda Gates’ Equality Can’t Wait movement, AXE’s Find Your Magic Initiative, and Makers, a media company that showcases women currently taking action to reach equality. While he supports feminists, Legend is proud call himself a feminist, and believes all men should follow suit.