John Legend has never been one to stand down.
Last week, the singer had been walking through John F. Kennedy International Airport with wife Chrissy Teigen when a paparazzo asked Teigen a racist question about Legend.
Taking to Twitter to share the baffling statement with her followers, she wrote:
Paparazzi at JFK just asked me “if we evolved from monkeys, why is John Legend still around?” – and people wonder why celebs lose it in pics.
Paparazzi at JFK just asked me "if we evolved from monkeys, why is John Legend still around?" – and people wonder why celebs lose it in pics
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 19, 2017
This is where we’re at with race relations in America right now?
Not only did the paparazzo hurl racism directed at Legend – who let’s not forget, he is paid to follow – he also said it while the singer was standing right there.
Responding to her original tweet, Teigen confirmed John had been standing right next to her when the question was asked.
[tweet https://twitter.com/chrissyteigen/status/822172505779662850?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw conversation=”false”]
Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point where people can’t walk around minding their own business without being harassed with blatant racism.
But don’t worry, decent human beings, John Legend had the perfect response to the paparazzo’s question.
Opening up about the racial incident for the first time during an interview with Variety Studio at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, he 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.
— Variety (@Variety) January 22, 2017
Black folks have had to deal with being called monkeys for a long time and dehumanization has always been a method of racism and subjugation of black people.
That’s just part of American history and it’s part of the present, apparently. We saw it with the former president, [Barack] Obama.
Whenever people wanted to discount him or discount his wife, they compared them to apes. And we’ve seen that frequently.
But Legend said the encounter has only made him stronger: “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 still exists.”
Way to go, John Legend. We can now add ‘taking the high road’ to his list of successful accomplishments.