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John Legend speaks at the Duke University graduation ceremony

John Legend speaks at the Duke University graduation ceremony

May 4, 2021: -Multi-platinum selling singer, actor, producer, and philanthropist John Legend delivered Duke University’s undergraduate commencement address. He also received an honorary degree.

In 2018, Legend became the first Black man to get the coveted “EGOT” status after earning awards from Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. He is also a vocal criminal justice reform activist.

Legend acknowledged the difficulties that the 2021 class have faced as they complete the degrees in a coronavirus pandemic. “Your class lost a lot, some lost job offers, some lost loved ones, and all of you last a year the moments that make college so special,” he said.

“The fact that you’re here today, graduates of one of the world’s greatest universities, means that you’ve had to approach life with a certain competitiveness,” he said. “But over the past year, you were forcefully paused, to see ourselves not just in competing, but in community with each other.

Anyone, not feeling fell was risky for everyone. We all had to slow down, social distance, cover the faces, stop to fill our days with maximum productivity, keep each other safe, keep each other alive, and care for one another. And this perspective you gained will serve us all because while that competitive drive that got you here can be a gift, it can get in the way, too.”

“America’s story has been marred by efforts to dominate, to subjugate, to exclude, to keep certain groups of people without a voice, power, and opportunity. All because of a fear that if those people did better, somebody else would have to lose,” he added.

 “But the miracle of our story is that as we expanded opportunity, in our best moments, we proved that those fears were unfounded. He concluded the speech by stressing the importance of love. “Once we recognize our interdependence, our mutuality, it’s clear that love is what our society needs.”

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