John Legend Opens Up About the Southern Border Crisis & Fatherhood
The multi-talented artist discussed our nation's immigration crisis from the perspective of a philanthropist and dad of two.
John Legend continues to live up to his name. He's a Grammy/Oscar/Tony/Golden Globe-winning musician and actor, husband to beloved celeb mama Chrissy Teigen, winemaker, and proud dad, just to name a few of his credits. And it's clear that all of his impressive projects come from a heartfelt place. While celebrating the launch of his "second baby" to be born this year, LVE (Legend Vineyard Exclusives)'s first-ever rosé, at Héritage Fine Wines in Beverly Hills on Thursday, June 21, Legend spoke with Parents.com several subjects that he cares deeply about, including the heart-wrenching national crisis at the southern border, fatherhood, and family life with Chrissy.
Parents.com: What has been the most fun aspect of having two kids so far? How about the most challenging?
John Legend: The most fun is that [Luna] knows she's kind of competing for our attention now, so she kinda amps it up a little bit. She, like, sings louder, dances harder. I think it's inspired her to develop her personality even more rapidly. I think the competition has been good for her. The toughest part is just the extra hands it requires, you know, when you have two versus one. But we're lucky to help around the house, and my mother-in-law is there a lot, too, so we're fine, but it's just more logistics go into every decision.
Parents.com: What inspired the photo you shared on Father's Day, in which Chrissy is pumping on your way to dinner?
John Legend: Chrissy, of course, the demands on her body during this breastfeeding time are pretty intense, and any woman who has breastfed knows that, and even when you run out to dinner, sometimes you gotta take a break and be a mom. So, that's what we were showing, and I think a lot of people can relate.
Parents.com: Why is it so important you to spotlight these honest family life moments like these?
John Legend: I think a lot of people think our lives are all perfect, because we're rich and famous and we seem to have everything we want in life. We do have a great life, and we are really grateful, but there are also challenges, and a lot of challenges are what other people face. [People relate] when we talk about breastfeeding, when we talk about Chrissy's postpartum depression that she had with our first child [daughter Luna], when we're just talking about all the little parent frustrations and challenges that we all have. We go through a lot of similar things, no matter what part of the world we live in. That's why I think we particularly empathize with the kids and families on the border, because even though our circumstances are very different, there's something that fundamentally human about the parent-child connection and wanting the best for your child. We wanted to bring that to light, and that's why we've been speaking about it so much.
Parents.com: You, Chrissy, Luna, and Miles made an incredible, generous donation to the ACLU earlier this month, which inspired others to pitch in, as well. What are some other ways you are encouraging people to get involved, and what do you want them to know about the border crisis?
John Legend: I've been introduced to doctors who study what trauma does to kids, and you think you can forget about it—you think at that age of 3, 4, 5, you can forget about it later, but these kids, it stays with them, and it affects the way they deal with life the rest of their lives, and that's why it's so tragic. It's not just a moment, it's not just a few months. It is something that will stay with them, and that's what makes it even more heartbreaking.
The ACLU is doing great things with legal representation. There's another group called RAICES, and they're helping with a lot of the court cases down there, too. There's just a high volume of people that need representation, and kids that need to be reunited with their parents, and then organizations on the border that are doing just that. I think a lot of people think, "Well, I can't give like Chrissy and John did," but what we also inspired was 20,000 more people to give a smaller amount, and it adds up. So, what we want is for people to give what they can, and it really does add up.
Parents.com: How do you imagine you might talk to Luna and Miles about tough topics like this when they're older?
John Legend: [Luna] doesn't know what's going on yet, and I don't need her to know yet, because she's a little too young to process it, but when she gets older, she's gonna have to know what's happening in the world, and we're going to tell her what we think about those things and how we look at those things, and hopefully equip her to be someone who's empathetic and kind and giving and generous and also realizes how fortunate she is to be in the situation that she's in.
It's clear that John and Chrissy are already doing just that by setting an inspiring, philanthropic example for not just their own children but moms and dads everywhere.