Press Release

John Legend to Receive NAACP President’s Award

January 26, 2016

Prestigious Honor Recognizes Philanthropic Work To Break Cycle of Poverty

LOS ANGELES, CA – January 26, 2016 – The NAACP announced today that John Legend will be presented with the NAACP President’s Award at the 47th NAACP Image Awards telecast LIVE from 9-11 p.m. ET (PT tape-delayed) on February 5 on TV One.

The NAACP President’s Award, chosen by NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.  Past honorees include Van Jones, President Bill Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, the Founding Members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association, Kerry Washington, and last year, Spike Lee.

“John Legend is a passionate champion for both social justice and quality education for all,” stated Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP.  “His contributions to music and artistic creativity have been recognized by peers and fans worldwide, and he is greatly admired for his humanitarian efforts through his Show Me Campaign.  Legend remains a true inspiration through his philanthropic work, and I am truly proud to honor his altruistic efforts both domestically and internationally by bestowing upon him this year’s NAACP President’s Award.”

Nine-time Grammy® Award winner, Academy Award® winner, and Golden Globe® winner, Ohio-born John Legend is a critically acclaimed, multi-talented artist whose distinctive voice and songwriting style have earned him legions of worldwide fans along with a string of Top 10 platinum-selling albums.  From a young age, Legend aspired to use his position in the entertainment industry as a platform for social change.  In an essay competition Legend won at age 15, he wrote of his dream to become a star recording artist and to use his influence and resources to give back to his community.

Throughout his career, Legend has committed his time, energy, and resources to make a difference in the lives of others.  In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign (, an organization committed to investing in solutions that have been proven to improve people’s lives and to give them the opportunities to survive, thrive and succeed.

The Show Me Campaign works to give every child access to a quality education as well as address systemic issues in our criminal justice system that disproportionately impact the poor, minorities, and disadvantaged.  Through the promotion of proven solutions and programs in education Legend hopes to elevate and celebrate teachers, the single most important factor for student achievement in our schools.  Additionally, in 2014, Legend launched LRNG ( in partnership with The MacArthur Foundation and The National Writing Project.  LRNG is a movement dedicated to inspiring innovation in the learning process to one that better reflects the world we live in today. LRNG Innovators invests in educators who are building tomorrow’s education system today.

Most recently, Legend launched #FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture change campaign focused on ending mass incarceration. The purpose of #FREEAMERICA is to provide a cultural strategy to support the national movement aimed at ending mass incarceration. The #FREEAMERICA campaign sets intentionally ambitious goals – to return incarceration rates back to their historic levels prior to the massive expansion of jail and prison systems, and redirect savings to support concrete investments in education, rehabilitation, and re-entry. As a respected artist, John Legend is using his platform to engage stakeholders from all areas of the criminal justice system to provide the background and guidance necessary to achieve that goal.

Legend serves on the Board of Directors of Teach for All, Harlem Village Academies, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Stand for Children and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. In addition, Legend also serves as one of the principles for Get Lifted Film Co., a film and television production company based in Los Angeles.  Get Lifted Film Co. has sold several projects in television to networks including Showtime, NBC, HBO, USA, MTV, OWN and FOX.  Get Lifted Film Co. focuses on developing projects in both TV and film that tell stories that inspire and create dialog for the masses.

The NAACP Image Awards celebrates the accomplishment of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors. The multi-cultural show is one of the most respected events of its kind and is well attended by many of the top names in the entertainment industry. Winners will be voted upon by NAACP members and announced when the envelopes are opened on Thursday, February 4 during the Awards Ceremony for non-televised categories. The remaining categories will be announced LIVE on stage during the two-hour star-studded TV One telecast on Friday, February 5(9:00 p.m. ET/PT tape-delayed).  The telecast will also include a one-hour pre-show airing LIVE from the red carpet (8:00 p.m. ET/PT tape-delayed).

The 47th NAACP Image Awards is sponsored by AMC, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast NBCUniversal, Chrysler/UAW, FedEx, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, The Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo.

For all information and latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at

About NAACP:

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. The NAACP’s 250,000 adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. In the fall of 2011, the NAACP launched a process to develop its strategic direction and plan, creating a powerful vision for the future, and setting organizational goals that would focus its work for the 21st Century. The six NAACP Game Changers (Economic Sustainability, Education, Health, Public Safety and Criminal Justice, Voting Rights and Political Representation, and expanding Youth Engagement) are the major areas of inequality facing African-Americans that are the focus of the NAACP’s work.

About TV One:

Launched in January 2004, TV One (<>) serves 57 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies and music designed to entertain and inform a diverse audience of adult Black viewers.  The network is the exclusive home of News One Now, the only live daily news program targeting Black viewers.  In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves 14 million households.  TV One is solely owned by Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK,<>], the largest radio company that primarily targets Black and urban viewers.


For the NAACP Image Awards:
The Lippin Group
Jennifer Price-Keith |

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