While most probably went to see “An Evening With John Legend” to hear him sing, Legend spent a little over half of his performance speaking about education equality causes, stating that “We have to talk about problems before we can talk about solutions.” Legend, a wise 34 year-old, nine-time Grammy Award winner from Springfield, Ohio, holds board positions on the national board of Teach For America, The Education Equality Project, the Harlem Village Academies and Stand for Children and the Harlem Village.
He started off his speech on Friday by telling us, “We’ve got to strive to make equality in education a reality, not just an aspirational slogan.” So, what can we here at Cornell do about it? “You, as Cornell students, are empowered to be great leaders. You are equipped to succeed in your studies, your internships, your hobbies, your relationships. Embrace that control [over our destiny], and use that power [of education] for good. Take a look at your resources … and consider applying some fraction of that towards a cause that’s close to your heart. If you choose to do so, you’re going to make a positive impact and leave a lasting impression on the world,” he said to the audience.
He allowed seven people to stand and ask questions. These ranged from how to improve the quality of teachers in public school systems, to what the inspiration behind his latest album was, to whether or not he would be hosting SNL any time soon. Legend proved that he is passionate about serious issues, and that he has a great sense of humor and poise about him — he commanded the room the entire night. He seemed like the type of guy anyone could be friends with.
Then, he moved on to what we had all been waiting for. If you could mix honey, silk and a baby’s bottom together, you would almost come close to the smooth quality of John Legend’s voice … almost. Legend started the music portion of the night with his most recent hit, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” and he captivated the audience instantly. Ear-piercing girly screams abounded as every female in the audience (and I’m sure some of the guys) wished John Legend would be the best they ever had. He only played four more songs: “Used to Love U,” the first live performance of his new single “Who Do We Think We Are,” “Green Light” and, perhaps his most popular hit, “Ordinary People.” I’m pretty sure that everyone could have sat there listening to him sing all night, but all wonderful things must come to an end. Legend somehow left the audience wishing for more, while still feeling privileged that they were able to hear him perform at all.
Original Author: Rachel Ellicott