Watch John Legend Answer Readers' Questions About Life, Love and What Can Be Done to Heal America
His hit music can move millions, but it's no secret that John Legend is as smart and lovable as he is talented. The EGOT-winning musician — and PEOPLE's reigning Sexiest Man Alive — has long chosen to use all of those powers for good. And with recent virtual performances, acts of kindness and activism, he’s stood out to fans as an inspiring force amid the chaos of this challenging year.
In this week's issue, Legend, 41, who recently released his new album Bigger Love, opens up to PEOPLE readers, answering their burning questions about how he's managing life in quarantine with wife Chrissy Teigen, 34, and their tots Luna, 4, and Miles, 2, as well as his thoughts on advice about the current pandemic and racial injustice in America.
AMANDA G.: How do you juggle being a husband, raising children and working on your career at this time?
LEGEND: Because of the pandemic I've been home more than ever. I've done a lot of interviews from this very room, which is my living room, and we filmed The Voice from right here. I've done live performances from my piano, you've probably seen a couple of those as well. So I am working but I get to see my wife and my kids more than I would normally see them and I think that's a pretty cool thing. I'm pretty sure my kids love the fact that mommy and daddy are home all the time nowadays and they don't have to go to school. So it's been an interesting time, it's been challenging for a lot of people, I know that, but this time together and not traveling for work has been good for us.
JOAN Y.: Do you ever get embarrassed when Luna or Miles interrupt your business Zooms? (I saw she wanted to bring you a snack the other day!)
LEGEND: I don't really get that embarrassed. Everybody understands that we're working from home and the kids, as much you want them to behave exactly how you want them to behave, sometimes they’re going to freelance. So occasionally Luna will walk in on my Zooms and sit in my lap and wave "Hi" and I think it's charming … most of the time.
PARIA S.: At what age will you start having the tough conversations with your children about what being Black in America may look like for them?
LEGEND: We're going to play it by ear. I don't know exactly when that's going to happen, but we'll be able to tell when Luna is ready for that conversation and when Miles is ready. Luna already knows that she is Black. She also already knows that her mother's family is Thai and we try to make her proud of her heritage, of the things that are part of our different cultures and part of our ancestry. So we already talk a little bit about it but we haven't gotten in depth about what’s going on in the news right now or some of the other challenges that come with being a person of color. We'll get into it. It’ll be a conversation that every parent has to have with their kids at some point. But you want to wait until they're ready to process it.
RENEE C.: If you could be mayor or president for a day, what would you do first?
LEGEND: Oh, there's so many things I want to do! Anyone who knows me knows I'm very outspoken when it comes to my political beliefs. I would want to drastically reduce our use of jails and prisons. I would want to take some of the funding that is currently going towards policing and spend it on other things that could be more beneficial to the community. I would make sure our schools were as good as they possibly could be, make sure everyone had health care, make sure everyone could go to college and afford to go to college. Those are just a few of the things that I would want to do. I speak out a lot about politics because politics isn't just a game, it’s something that affects a lot of people’s lives, affects their quality of life and is even life or death for a lot of people. Hopefully as we vote this year, we’ll vote to put people in office who are attuned to the needs of the people and who will do what’s right.
JACKIE F.: How are you addressing what's going on in the world right now with your white friends? When people ask "how are you?" what do you say?
LEGEND: When people ask me how I'm doing I say I'm doing well and I am doing well in the sense that I'm happy with my career, I'm happy with my family, and most moments in my day are positive moments. But, that being said, it can be very frustrating watching the news. It can be very frustrating thinking about how we keep having the same conversations over and over again about abuse from the police, abuse from the criminal justice system. We really do need change and that’s something I've been focused on for a long time in my philanthropic and political work. When moments like George Floyd's killing happen, it makes it even more urgent that change is needed. I'm doing fine, but too many people in our country aren’t doing well and for too long we've put up with a system that doesn't treat people of color equally and that needs to change.
VIVIAN W.: What is one of your favorite traditions from Chrissy's Thai culture that you've enjoyed passing down to Luna and Miles?
LEGEND: Of course we love the food in Thai culture. We've had Pepper Thai, Chrissy's mom, cooking for us for many years. I think my kids are really fortunate they get to learn about Thai culture, they get to learn about African American culture … and know that their traditions should be valued and cherished.
STEPHANIE B.: What is your and Chrissy's favorite thing to do as a couple?
LEGEND: Just the little things, watching movies that we've already seen, just chilling on the couch watching reality TV or something silly or something good. Having a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. It’s nice. We like to share those as a couple and you need those moments, particularly after the kids go to bed.
For more from John Legend, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
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