Music

John Legend says ‘standing up for immigrants isn’t virtue signalling’

John Legend has denied that standing up for immigrants and the #MeToo movement is “virtue signalling”.

The singer/songwriter has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump and his immigration policies, and rejected claims that he is “preachy” or “moralising”.

“I don’t know what virtue signalling is supposed to be,” he told The Guardian. “I get that people don’t like people who are overly preachy or overly moralising. But, in my humble opinion, if you care about people who are often undervalued and overlooked in society, what’s so negative about that?

“There seem to be some who think that standing up for immigrants whose kids are getting locked up in cages is… some might call that virtue signalling and some might think speaking up against it is absolutely right.”

Legend also expressed his unease with the controversy over the Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, which appears on his new Christmas album with some of its controversial lyrics changed.

“It’s interesting, this whole backlash to the #MeToo movement,” he said. “People thinking we’ve gone too far speaking up for a woman’s right to not get raped or sexually harassed, when some would argue we’ve not gone far enough, when we have an admitted sexual assailant in the highest office in the land.

“People think that because some people have lost their jobs, or have been expelled from Hollywood, like Weinstein, that we’ve gone too far. I don’t agree. But people wanted the ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ war to be a proxy war for all that.”

Last month, Dean Martin’s daughter Deana criticised Legend for changing the lyrics to “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, calling it “absolutely absurd”.

On Legend’s version of the track, which he performs with Kelly Clarkson, the lyrics “I’ve got to go away, but baby it’s cold outside” with “I’ve got to go away, I can call you a ride”.

The new version also adds the lyric, “It’s your body, and your choice”.


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