A Conversation with John Legend and Ta-Nehisi Coates
John Legend celebrated the release of his new album, DARKNESS AND LIGHT, with an unforgettable performance at Manhattan’s historic Riverside Church for his episode of Live from the Artists Den. From the same pulpit where, fifty years earlier, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered an electrifying “A Time To Break Silence” speech, Legend presented a magnificent set of brand new songs (many being played for the first time ever onstage) alongside such classics as “All Of Me” and “Glory,” offering messages of love and hope in a spectacular setting that has been associated with progressive activism for almost a century. The concert was preceded by a provocative conversation convened by The Atlantic between the ten-time Grammy winner, and the magazine’s national correspondent and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates. The conversation, part of the ongoing “Atlantic Exchange” series, added powerful perspective and depth to an incomparable evening. The Atlantic Exchange series curates intimate conversations with today’s most consequential voices.
John Legend is a ten-time Grammy Award winning R&B and soul recording artist, Oscar and Golden Globe winner, and critically acclaimed concert performer, philanthropist/social activist, and was named one of Time Magazineʼs 100 Most Influential People. Legend has released four studio albums to date, and has been hailed as one of the industry’s most innovative artists. John Legend’s latest album, DARKNESS AND LIGHT, was released on Columbia Records on Friday, December 2nd.
Described by The New York Times as “a stronghold of activism and political debate” throughout its 75-year history, the Riverside Church is famous for its large size and elaborate Neo-Gothic architecture as well as its history of social justice. It has been a focal point of global and national activism since its inception with a heritage of iconic speakers. Martin Luther King Jr. voiced his opposition to the Vietnam War at Riverside on April 4, 1967, also known as the Riverside Church Speech, while figures such as Channing E. Phillips, a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have all graced the space with their presence.