SEATTLE — Showing his philanthropic side, new father and award-winning musician John Legend champions global poverty charities. Focusing on impoverished African countries such as Ghana, Legend supports organizations that assist in the fight against HIV/AIDS and help curb the millions of avoidable deaths from hunger and other various diseases.
Legend found himself strikingly moved by Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs’ book, “The End of Poverty,” and the author’s own organization, Millennium Promise, which works to combat poverty in African villages. In 2007, Legend launched the Show Me Campaign, which draws on Millennium Promise’s philosophy to implement development programs that address the lack of proper hygiene, education, farming techniques and clean drinking programs in disadvantaged areas. On Sachs’ impact, Legend states, “It’s truly important because you have these wake-up moments, and then you need to follow up that moment of excitement with some action… I think the book helped me go from the inspiration to actually do something.” The following year, both Legend and Sachs partnered for a Poverty Action Tour to universities all over the U.S., raising global poverty awareness among college students and challenging them to support efforts that work to eradicate the issue.
Since initially meeting with Sachs, Legend continually promotes global poverty charities. The singer was further motivated to help after he visited the village of Bonsaso in Ghana and had his eyes opened to struggles that are the reality for so many individuals. Rather than giving out money to these villages, the Show Me Campaign and Millennium Promise are more practical in that they provide supplies that can immediately be put to use. Mosquito nets serve as protection against malaria. Free meals fill the bellies of local children. Clean water and fertilizers improve crop production and eradicate food shortages. In addition, Legend has taken similar service trips to Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria.
At the 2016 global launch of Belvedere Vodka’s new campaign in support of RED, Legend performed his hit single “Love Me Now” from his most recent album, “Darkness and Light.” Promoting the cause and speaking in regards to his daughter, Legend expressed, “I would love for Luna to grow up in a world where no-one has to die from AIDS, I think that would be a beautiful thing and I think the RED campaign has helped us make progress so we can get to the point where no-one has to die from that disease.” Belvedere’s #MAKETHEDIFFERENCE campaign encourages people to join the fight against AIDS, raising funds through the sale of a limited edition bottle designed by Legend and South African artist Esther Mahlangu. Belvedere donates 50 percent of its profits from every bottle sold to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Seeking to be a better man for his daughter Luna, as well as promote the welfare of those in need, it is evident that John Legend champions global poverty charities more than the typical celebrity. His work in underdeveloped regions encourages others to shift their attention toward the widespread problem of extreme poverty and strive to make a difference.
– Mikaela Frigillana