Grammy award-winning singer visits UK to share his ‘Legend’

By Liz Breed

Celebrity cameos are frequent on UK’s campus, with greats like LeBron James and Drake having made multiple appearances in recent years (LeBron just this past September). But, for one particular celebrity, campus has been buzzing since the beginning of the school year.

On Tuesday evening, UK students and faculty will get the opportunity to have “A Conversation with John Legend,” as a part of the Student Activities Board’s Engaging Issues series.

John Legend, 32, the Teach for America board member who is largely involved in social activism, will be talking about issues like improving public education and eliminating poverty during Teach for America’s week at UK.

“John is big in philanthropy and social change, and (he) wants to help get equal opportunities for those in poverty,” said Sarah Jones, SAB’s director of Engaging Issues.

Part of Legend’s inspiration came from a trip to Ghana in 2007 where he lived in a village and saw those in the most extreme forms of poverty, Jones said.

Educational inequality is “the civil rights issue of our time,” Legend said in a September 2010 USA Today article, which revealed that the singer had also grown up in poverty himself.

“His goal is to make life better for others,” Jones said. “He also uses his celebrity status to promote all of his goals, which is really great because it helps him relate to younger people. John Legend is a really stellar leader. This event is really exciting.”

Two of the targeted audiences for this event were the youth within the community and those involved in education. SAB members thought it was important to include the Lexington community, in addition to UK students.

“The event was promoted by various posters in busy parts of campus,” said Priska Ndege, an SAB chair on the Multicultural Affairs committee. “They were also placed in places in Lexington like teen help centers so misunderstood teens can see that there is help for them.

“This is an issue that affects all, so it is important to reach out to everyone.”

“A Conversation with John Legend” takes place Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Singletary Center for the Arts and is free to UK students, faculty and staff. General admission is $10.