John Legend spoke at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday evening, using the platform to condemn Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Explaining that he felt “conflicted” about attending an awards ceremony in the midst of “what’s happening in the streets,” Legend said, “Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions. Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump. I want to specifically tonight reject his vision and affirm that America has to be better than that.” Legend also reminded the crowd of their own responsibility to resist, noting, “There’s a lot of money and power in this room, and I hope you will all you use it for something good.” Legend was one of several attendees, including Thandie Newton and Colin Firth, to decry the ban, while Celebrity Apprentice producer Mark Burnett, infamous for allegedly possessing potentially damaging Trump tapes, received several boos while onstage. Watch Legend’s invective against Trump above, and read his speech in full below.
The movie musical is declared dead every few years, and then along comes a guy like Damien Chazelle, who decides not only is he going to try and make a musical, he’s going to make one with an entirely original score, put people in it who are not famous for their singing or dancing, and put a singer in it who is not famous for his acting. And just to make it really challenging, add a jazz element. What could go wrong producers, what could go wrong? Damien made a beautiful film and we’re so proud to be a part of it.
Now, this is a moment and we’re all worried about what’s happening in our country. I won’t pretend that La La Landis a political film, but I do want to take a second to talk about what’s happening in our country right now. This is a film about love, about dreams, and about this lovely city we call home, Los Angles, California. Los Angeles is the home of so many immigrants, so many creative people, so many dreamers, and those of us who work in this business have the privilege of shaping how the world perceives this country we love. We are the voice, we are the face of America. Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions. Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump. And I want to specifically reject his vision and affirm that America has to be better than that.
My wife and I were a little bit conflicted about being here when we know what’s happening in the streets, we know what’s happening at LAX and the airports around the country, but we came here tonight. But we also wanted to put our money where our mouth is and we made a donation to the ACLU and to other organizations who are committed to fighting for freedom in the land of the free. There’s a lot of money and power in this room, and I hope you all will use it for something good. Let’s all continue to stand up together for what is right.
Now that I’ve completely digressed, and done something I wasn’t even supposed to do, I’ll get back to what I was supposed to do. Here’s a clip from our little musical about dreamers. Here’s La La Land.
Additional reporting by Carita Rizzo.