John Legend must have thought: ‘And now… practice what you preach!’ The man who is known to many for his sweet love songs already raised awareness for social injustice on his earlier album Darkness and Light. But with his new single Preach he takes it a step further; he makes a call to action and… sets a good example himself.


How did he get the idea for this song?

‘Sometimes we can get so frustrated by the news and what’s going on and there’s this battle going on in ourselves. Do we become apathetic? Do we become engaged? Do we just talk about it, or do we do something?’, says Legend.


What does he want to say with Preach? In the impressive music video we see a high school shooting, a girl being separated from her mother at the border and policemen behaving aggressively towards African Americans during an arrest.

You can hear from the lyrics how these events have touched John personally:

Every day I wake and everything is broken
Turnin’ off my phone just to get out of bed
Get home every evenin’ and history’s repeatin’
Turnin’ off my phone ‘cause it’s hurtin’ my chest

He gets frustrated, because he is able to change things, but doesn’t actually do anything: 

And Heaven knows I’m not helpless, yeah
But what can I do?
I can’t see the use in me cryin’
If I’m not even tryna make the change I wanna see

That’s why he says to himself:

I can’t sit and hope, I can’t just sit and pray that
I can find the love when all I see is pain

Fallin’ to my knees, and though I do believe
I can’t just preach, baby, preach
Preach – John Legend 

He’s taking action! He is raising money with Preach for his initiative, FREEAMERICA.


John’s goal with FREEAMERICA is to change the American justice system. 70 million Americans have a criminal record and 12 million people are (temporarily) incarcerated. According to John, this is a result of years of misguided policies.

With his initiative FREEAMERICA he supports people impacted by the criminal justice system as well as the people who are trying to change it. How?

“By challenging stereotypes, breaking down barriers, and uplifting solutions, we are helping to end mass incarceration and invest in just, equitable, and thriving communities across the United States.”

With Preach, Legend is raising money via YouTube. His goal is to raise $50,000 in donations to spend on his mission. Go John!

Want to read more?

Curious for other work by John Legend? We found out he’s not (just) the romantic teddy bear people expect him to be in What is John Legend’s music actually about? But there’s more artist that spread political messages! Check the links to see what Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Beyoncé and Jay-Z fight for.

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– Preach is written by Greg Kurstin, Sarah Aarons & John Legend, 2019.
📸: Unknown, image from music video