John Legend went back to school last week, visiting Centennial High School in Columbus, Ohio, with a mission in mind: to help students share their feelings about masculinity and gender stereotypes.
“The whole idea was to encourage individuality and creativity,” Legend explained. “Particularly focusing on the idea that there’s no one way to be a man — no one way to be masculine. Young men need to get beyond that fear of being different and embracing that individuality.”
This is especially difficult during the teenage years, notesdthe “All of Me” singer. “Part of it’s the social aspect of how you want to fit in, making friends, dating and all these other things,” Legend said. “When you’re a kid, as much as you want to feel confident about that, all of us feel pretty insecure about all of those things.”
While Legend takes his responsibilities as a role model to the next generation seriously, he also admitted he doesn’t “think about it too much. I think more about the opportunity that I have to influence people, influence the culture, influence politics and influence the way we all live together. I know there are plenty other artists and individuals that have that kind of power, so I’m just one of many, but I try to use my voice and my power for good, and try to make the world better in whatever small ways that I can do it.”