John Legend: Hip Hop Had a Role in Electing Black President

View Comments
Archive image of John Legend. (credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Art of Elysium)

Archive image of John Legend. (credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Art of Elysium)

Presidential Inauguration Coverage Presidential Inauguration Coverage
Read More
Latest News

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — John Legend believes hip-hop played its part in helping Barack Obama become president, and he’s proud at how the genre has matured over the years.

“I think hip-hop had a role in making sure we elected a black president in America because we made it so that black people were in people’s homes … through our music and through our culture,” the R&B crooner said Sunday night at the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball.

“I think it made Barack Obama and more people like him possible, so I’m really thankful for hip-hop and the role it plays in society,” he continued.

Legend was awarded the humanitarian award at Sunday’s event, and it was one of many honors handed out at the Harman Center for Arts.

WNEW INAUGURATION RESOURCE GUIDE

Hip-hop pioneers MC Lyte and Doug E. Fresh were both given lifetime achievement awards. Fresh even hit the stage, beat boxing while comedian-actor-singer Wayne Brady cooed Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” At one point, Brady even busted out his own rhymes.

Rapper Yo Yo earned a roaring cheer when she hit the stage to honor MC Lyte; Lil Mama also paid tribute to the “Ruffneck” rapper.

2 Chainz, who had a breakthrough year with his Grammy-nominated solo debut and multiple rap hits, earned the street soldier award for encouraging young voters as a spokesperson for the Hip-Hop Caucus’ “Respect My Vote!” campaign.

“Doing my thing on the charts is one thing, but to be getting honored on another avenue, it just feels like a blessing,” he said in an interview. “I’m keeping my head leveled and staying humble.”

SIGHTS & SOUNDS OF #INAUG2013

Actress Rosario Dawson won the vanguard award for her work as chairman of the Voto Latino organization.

“It’s time to step out of the shadows. It’s time to not just be talked about by other people, it’s time to take the leadership ourselves and that first step of leadership is voting,” Dawson said of the importance of the Latino vote.

Rappers Swizz Beatz and Meek Mill also earned honors at the event, attended by a few hundred hip-hop fans, including model Tyson Beckford, former NBA star Dikembe Mutumbo and Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. La La Anthony and Terrence J hosted the ball.

British singer Marsha Ambrosius also delivered a rousing performance, and playful jokes about Obama.

“I got a call from the president and he asked me to perform his favorite song,” she said before singing the R&B jam “Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player).”

Then she sang “Butterflies,” a song she co-wrote for Michael Jackson’s 2001 “Invincible” album.

“This might have been his favorite,” she said.

Follow WNEW on Twitter.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,651 other followers