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John Legend Talks Oscar Controversy: There’s a Lot of Progress that Still Needs to Be Made


ABC News Radio

John Legend is known to voice his opinion about controversial topics, so it should come as no surprise that the singer is weighing in on the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees. In an interview with Us Weekly, the singer says there’s still a considerable amount of work to be done in terms of the annual ceremony more inclusive. 

“I think sometimes the controversy comes when we look and see all these acting nominees and none of them are people of color, then you look at the Academy and it’s very few women, very few people of color. You realize that there’s a lot of progress that still needs to be made,” Legend says. “I think the Academy made a big step in making progress by making the change in the membership and voting rules this week so they can diversify the ranks and bring in some new blood.”

While many were felt Straight Outta Compton was snubbed, and that Will Smith deserved a nomination for his performance in Concussion, Legend feels there was another leading man who should have been recognized: Idris Elba.

“I though Beasts of No Nation was amazing and I though Idris Elba and the young boy that plays in the film both had a good shot of winning, or being nominated for something, so I was a little bit disappointed by that, but that’s not to take away from the people that did get nominated, because I haven’t seen all the films yet and maybe they deserved it.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Legend says the issue overall is “not a new thing,” adding “I love being able to use my voice as an artist to raise issues that I think are important.”

The 88th annual Academy Awards air February 28 on ABC.

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