WATCH: John Legend Responds the Paparazzo that Called Him a ‘Monkey’
Last week, Chrissy Teigen tweeted about an incident of racism that occurred between John Legend and a paparazzi photographer at JFK airport. Legend addressed the encounter at Sundance Film Festival on Saturday (Jan. 21, 2017).
Teigen’s tweet said that the paparazzo asked her, “If we evolved from monkeys, why is John Legend still around?” After it happened, Legend said that he couldn’t believe that someone would have the audacity to ask him such a question.
“We were right next to each other and we looked at each other like, ‘Did he really just say that?'” Legend recalled at the Variety Studio presented by Orville Redenbacher. “And he really said it. He basically called me a monkey.”
“Black folks have had to deal with being called monkeys for a long time and dehumanization has always been kind of a method of racism and subjugation of black people and that’s just part of American history — and it’s part of the present, apparently,” Legend told Variety‘s Elizabeth Wagmeister. “We saw with the former president, Obama, whenever people wanted to discount him or discount his wife, they compared them to apes. And we’ve seen that frequently. I’m not hurt by someone saying that to me because I’m smarter, I’m stronger. I look down on that person that would say something like that. But it’s a shame that it still exists.”
Legend was at Sundance to promote Underground, the WGN America series on which he is an executive producer. He will portray Frederick Douglass in Season 2 of the drama.
Watch Legend discuss the JFK encounter in the video below.
— Variety (@Variety) January 22, 2017