After years of friendship, John Legend has stopped speaking to Kanye West but is concerned about the rapper’s recent downward spiral. In a new interview, The Voice coach and EGOT-winning musician opened up about how the superstars got their start in the music industry together and how much his old friend has changed.
John Legend says he saw no evidence of hateful rhetoric during his friendship with Kanye West
On November 3, 2022, issue of Let’s continue with the podcast by Kara SwisherJohn Legend opened up about his long relationship with Kanye West, which collapsed in part due to West’s 2020 presidential bid.
The musically gifted couple worked together on West’s seminal debut album College Dropout in 2004.
“I did a lot there,” Legend told Swisher. “I sang there, I played there, I wrote there. We had kind of a collective of artists working together and he helped me produce my debut album.”
Legend’s first album, Get Lifted, was released months later and he signed to West’s production company. Though the two no longer speak, he credits West with helping launch his music career.
“So my career would have been very different and I don’t know how it would have been without his early influence and involvement early on,” he said.
Back then, he said he would never have labeled West as someone who would have gotten in trouble for racist and anti-Semitic stunts and remarks, including a since-deleted social media post that said he wanted to go to Death Con 3 JEWISH PEOPLE.” In the last days of West’s Social Media Accounts have been curtailed and he has lost key corporate partnerships, including with Adidas.
“I think he’s different than he was then,” Legend told Swisher of his old friend. “I didn’t see any evidence of this type of harmful behavior at the time, but I think life happens to people and I think his mother’s death probably had something to do with it. I don’t want to play the armchair psychologist, but he’s definitely changed and a lot of us who’ve known him over the years are really concerned about that.”
When Swisher asked if he personally tried to intervene, Legend said he didn’t do so because the two were no longer in touch, but that he knew people who were trying to get through to West.
“We haven’t been friends for a while now so I’m not taking action personally, but I know people who are and a lot of people are worried about him,” he said.
Some friends and fans are wondering if West’s behavior is the result of a bipolar manic episode. According to CNN, Back in 2019, when West appeared on David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, he opened up about his experience with the condition.
“When you’re in that state, you’re hyperparanoid about everything, everyone,” West explained. “That’s my experience, other people have different experiences. Everyone is an actor now. Everything is a conspiracy. You feel like the government is putting chips in your head. You feel included. You feel all these things.”
John Legend smacks Kanye West for anti-Semitic remarks
Regardless of the reasons for West’s actions, Legend hasn’t shied away from denouncing her. To Charles Blow, columnist for the New York Times wrote a scathing opinion piece about what he called the “cult of Kanye,” Legend echoed his words with a tweet.
Without naming West, he tweeted on Oct. 9, “Strange how all these ‘free independent thinkers’ always end up with the same old anti-blackness and anti-Semitism.”
When Swisher asked on her podcast why Legend chose to talk about West’s recent stunts, which range from his much publicized ones White Lives Matter sweatshirt to do and support Hate comments against JewsLegend said he just couldn’t keep quiet.
“I think we need to be clear about how insidious and evil anti-Semitism is and has been for centuries, how it has caused millions and millions of deaths,” he said, saying that oppression and racism are not new ideas, despite Wests Claims Remarks are evidence that he is an innovator and “free thinker”.
“It’s not a new discovery,” Legend said. “It’s not a hate innovation. And when people claiming to be freethinkers or innovators or creative people just end up back at that age-old meme of using the same stereotypes and tropes to slander Jews and incite harm against Jews, it’s an old but very dangerous tactic that has resulted in much suffering and death for the people.”
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