Preach

Album: Single release only (2019)

Songfacts®:

  • This protest song was inspired by the onslaught of negative news coming out of America. Over minor-key organ chords, John Legend sings:

    Get home every evening and history's repeating
    Turning off my phone cause it's hurting my chest


    "It's stressful to read the news sometimes," Legend told The BBC. "Sometimes we can get so frustrated and throw up our hands, and it's important that we realize we can actually do something."
  • The idea behind the song is that sometimes we can get so frustrated by the news and what's going on. But then, do we just talk about it, or do we do something?

    I can't sit and hope
    I can't just sit and pray


    Legend explained that the chorus is directly targeted at American politicians, and their reluctance to tackle the country's gun laws. "Every time there's a gun massacre in America, which is way too often, politicians come out and say, 'We send our hopes and prayers to the victims and their families' and then they don't do anything about it," he said. "So the song is basically a rebuke of the people in power."
  • Legend said he was "directly inspired" by the survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting in February 2018 - especially Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who have helped lead a protest movement against gun violence in the United States. "This is really a tribute to their activism," said the singer.
  • In 2015, Legend initiated the #FREEAMERICA campaign in an effort to change the national conversation surrounding our country's misguided criminal justice policies and to end mass incarceration. The song's potent music video, which was directed by Dominique DeLeon, breaks new ground as the first to employ YouTube's donate/fundraising feature in which viewers can donate (via a donate button) to FREE AMERICA.
  • The song addresses the political inaction following mass shootings. "We go through this ritual where politicians act like all they can do is hope and pray that a school shooting won't happen again," Legend explained to The New York Times magazine. "I wanted to make a statement against that kind of passivity."

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