The incident happened last week while Legend was at JFK airport with wife Chrissy Teigen.
John Legend has spoken about the racially charged harassment he suffered last week, when he was called a ‘monkey’ by a photographer at JFK airport.
John Legend has spoken about suffering racial harassment from a photographer last week
Speaking about the encounter for the first time to Variety at the Sundance Film Festival, Legend said: “We were right next to each other and we looked at each other like, ‘Did he really just say that?’ And he really said it. He basically called me a monkey.”
“Black folks have had to deal with being called monkeys for a long time and dehumanisation has always been kind of a method of racism and subjugation of black people and that’s just part of American history — and it’s part of the present, apparently,” he continued.
“We saw with the former president, Obama, whenever people wanted to discount him or discount his wife, they compared them to apes. And we’ve seen that frequently. I’m not hurt by someone saying that to me because I’m smarter, I’m stronger. I look down on that person that would say something like that. But it’s a shame that it still exists.”
Legend was at the Sundance Festival to promote series ‘Underground’ on which he serves as executive producer. Legend will guest star in the series’ second season, playing Frederick Douglass.