John Roger Stephens (born December 28, 1978), better known by his stage name John Legend, is an American singer-songwriter and actor. He has won nine Grammy Awards, and in 2007, Legend received the special Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Prior to the release of his debut album, Legend’s career gained momentum through a series of successful collaborations with multiple established artists. Legend added his voice to those of other artists, assisting in them reaching chart-topper hits. He lent his voice to Magnetic Man’s “Getting Nowhere,” Kanye West’s “All of the Lights”, on Slum Village’s “Selfish” and Dilated Peoples’ “This Way”. Other artists included Jay-Z’s “Encore”, and he sang backing vocals on Alicia Keys’ 2003 song “You Don’t Know My Name”, the Kanye West remix of Britney Spears’ “Me Against the Music”, and Fort Minor’s “High Road”. Legend played piano on Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything”. He has also gained chart topping hits from his solo work as well, including the Billboard Hot 100 No.1 peaking single, “All of Me”.
In May 2007, Legend partnered with Tide laundry detergent to raise awareness about the need of families in St. Bernard Parish, (Chalmette, LA) one of the most devastated areas hit by Hurricane Katrina; he spent a day folding laundry at the Tide “clean start” mobile laundromat and visited homes which Tide is helping to rebuild in that community. On July 7, 2007, Legend participated in the Live Earth concert in London, performing “Ordinary People”. After reading Professor Jeffrey Sachs’ book, The End of Poverty, Legend started his Show Me Campaign in 2007; with this campaign, Legend called on his fans to help him in his initiative for those who reside in Bossaso Village and non-profit organizations that the campaign partners with. Also in 2007, Legend was the spokesman for GQ Magazine’s “Gentlemen’s Fund”, an initiative to raise support and awareness for five cornerstones essential to men: opportunity, health, education, environment, and justice. In October 2007, Legend became involved with a project sponsored by The Gap, a retail clothing store chain in the United States. Through their “project red campaign” (also called “2 WEEKS”), The Gap’s contribution to their global fund from the sale of each (2 WEEKS) t-shirt is equivalent to the average cost of 2 weeks of anti-retroviral medicine in Africa, which enables people living with HIV to lead healthy, normal lives.
In early 2008, he began touring with Alexus Ruffin, and Professor Jeff Sachs of Columbia University’s Earth Institute to promote sustainable development as an achievable goal. Legend joined Sachs as a keynote speaker and performer at the inaugural Millennium Campus Conference. Legend then joined the Board of Advisors of the Millennium Campus Network (MCN), and has supported MCN programs through online support and funding fellowships for MCN summer interns through the Show Me Campaign. In 2009, Legend gave AIDS Service Center NYC permission to remix his song “If You’re Out There” to create a music video promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and testing.
On January 22, 2010, he performed “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” on the Hope for Haiti Now telethon show. On September 8, 2010, John Legend joined the national board of Teach For America. Legend also sits on the boards of The Education Equality Project, the Harlem Village Academies, and Stand for Children. He serves on the Harlem Village Academies’ National Leadership Board. On September 9, 2010, he performed “Coming Home” on the Colbert Report as a tribute song for the end of combat operations in Iraq, and for the active troops and the veterans of the United States Armed Forces. In 2011, he contributed the track “Love I’ve Never Known” to the Red Hot Organization’s most recent album “Red Hot+Rio 2.” The album is a follow-up to the 1996 “Red Hot+Rio.” Proceeds from the album sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues. On March 6, 2012, John Legend was appointed by the World Economic Forum to the Forum of Young Global Leaders. On June 1, 2013, Legend performed at Gucci’s global concert event in London whose campaign, “Chime For Change”, aims to raise awareness of women’s issues in terms of education, health and justice. At a press conference before his performance, Legend identified himself as a feminist saying, “All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights the world will be a better place.”