John Legend Stresses on What Society Needs Amid Pandemic in 2021 Commencement Speech

Speaking to Duke University's graduates at the Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, the 'All of Me' hitmaker admits hearing live applause for first time in months makes him feel good.

AceShowbiz - John Legend feels the "pain" of graduates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The "All of Me" hitmaker spoke to Duke University's undergraduates at the Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday, May 2 and, in his commencement speech, John admitted it had been a tough year for all.

"You know, I'm feeling good because today because this is the first time I've been in front of a live audience, hearing live applause, since last February, 14 months ago," he said.

"Your class lost a lot: Some lost job offers, some lost loved ones, and all of you lost a whole year those little moments that make college so special. I feel your pain: You've lost something that you won't get back. I won't sugarcoat that - it sucks. The fact that you're here today, graduates of one of the world's greatest universities means that you've had to approach life with a certain competitiveness."

He continued, "Anyone getting sick was a risk to everyone. We all had to slow down, social distance, cover our faces, stop filling our days with maximum productivity and simply keep each other safe, keep each other alive, care for one another."

And John - who was handed an honorary degree - praised the "perspective" students had gained during the pandemic.

In the speech, he added, "This perspective you gained will serve us all, because while that competitive drive that got you here can be an incredible gift, it can get in the way, too. America's story has always been marred by efforts to exclude, to dominate, to subjugate, to keep certain groups of people with no voice, no power and no opportunity: Workers, women, indigenous people, Black people, immigrants, the LGBTQ community."

"All because of a fear that if those people did better, somebody else would have to lose. But the miracle of our story is that as we expanded opportunity, in our best moments, we proved that those fears were unfounded. When more people made more money, rich business owners didn't suffer, they got more customers. Prosperity increased for everybody. Once we recognize our interdependence, our mutuality, it's clear that love is precisely what our society needs."

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