John Legend may be best-known as one of the youngest EGOT winners in entertainment, but don’t think that’s all there is to him. The singer is also highly involved in social activism and philanthropy, working to end mass incarceration and calling out injustice using his massive social media platform. However, even he knows it’s not enough to just Tweet about it — action is required. That’s the message of his new song and video for “Preach,” which addresses some of the greatest ills plaguing the modern news cycle — police brutality, mass shootings, and the ongoing US/Mexico border crisis.
Directed by Dominique DeLeon and produced by Kelsey Gilchrist and Angel Rosa, the video for “Preach” finds John unable to sleep thinking about the nearly nonstop cycle of bad news that we all seem subject to thanks to the steady stream of content from a thousand different sources. As he contemplates the various troubles of the world, vignettes play out depicting the trauma of a mother being separated from her daughter by an Immigration agent, a pair of brothers getting stopped by police with tragic results, and high school kids fleeing a shooter through their school gym. While the imagery is somewhat grim, the message of the song is hopeful that things can get better.
To that end, Youtube provided a donation link on the video page allowing users to donate to Legend’s FreeAmerica campaign, which aims for sweeping prison system reform. The goal is set to $50,000 and Youtube is covering all transaction fees for donations. As John Legend says in the song, “I can’t just preach.”