John Legend was on hand Friday morning (April 28) to advocate for voter turnout at the second day of Global Citizen Now’s two-day summit for activists and change-makers in New York City.
In conversation with Tamron Hall in an onstage panel before industry leaders and members of the press, Legend stressed the importance of making voter registration more accessible — or automatic, when possible — and fighting against politicians interfering in the voting process. Having recently become a father of three in January, when he and Chrissy Teigen welcomed their daughter Esti, the “All Of Me” singer said that voting in favor of reproductive healthcare, LGBTQ rights and student debt relief has become increasingly important to him as he hopes to create better circumstances for his kids’ generation.
“I’ve always cared deeply about the future, I’ve always cared deeply about the world we are building for our children,” he said. “But every time I think about all the love we pour into our own kids, and all we want for their future, I think about the parents who don’t have the resources we have.”
“We want a democracy that’s open to everybody and that encourages our leaders to do what’s right because they know they answer to the people,” he continued.
After praising President Biden’s student debt relief efforts and climate action legislation, Legend left off on a challenge: make the 2024 election go down in history for having the highest youth voter turnout ever. “We as young people,” the 44-year-old musician began, before laughing: “I still count myself as young. That’s a stretch…we have to make sure that we are reaching out to our friends and encouraging them to get out and vote.”
Also on the docket for Friday’s event were discussions on climate change, abortion access, protecting protesters in Iraq and Kenya and workplace equality for women. Katie Holmes helped introduce the summit by encouraging viewers to spread awareness of Global Citizen Now’s message via social media, Dawson’s Creek actress Busy Philipps called for more inclusion of reproductive health storylines in entertainment and the reinstatement of Roe v. Wade, and French President Emmanuel Macron joined in via video chat for a conversation on including poor and emerging countries in implementing global sustainability policies, for which he thinks collaboration between China and the U.S. — the No. 1 and No. 2 biggest greenhouse gas emitters, respectively — is essential.
When Morning Joe anchor and guest mediator Joe Scarborough joked during a brief break in the event’s live telecast that “if anyone at MSNBC is listening, we have the president of France so you can stop talking about Tucker Carlson,” Macron, waiting on standby, couldn’t help but let out a genuine laugh. Carlson was recently fired by Fox News, the longtime home of the highly controversial, right-wing program Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Sinan Aral, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, weighed in during a conversation on the need for ethical regulations in the world of tech, particularly where artificial intelligence is involved. If people were freaking out about the bizarre success of the viral fake Drake and The Weeknd duet earlier this month, Aral says the world isn’t prepared for how “very dangerous” booming AI technology could become if weaponized during upcoming elections.
“The misinformation of the 2020 election is child’s play compared with what is possible for deepfake video and audio,” he said.
See more details about Global Citizen Now here.