World-renowned singer-songwriter and philanthropist John Legend hosted Global Citizen Prize for the second year in a row on Saturday, recognizing the achievements of inspirational activists and leaders taking action for a world that is fair, just, and equal for all.
Legend’s commitment to standing up to injustice and fighting to make the world a better place is one of the many reasons we were so excited to welcome him back to host this year’s ceremony.
Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, have an impressive track record of supporting important causes.
In 2017, for example, the couple donated $5,000 to a GoFundMe campaign that helped kids in Seattle pay off their school lunch debts. When the #MeToo movement helped bring sexual harassment and abuse into the mainstream media in 2018, Legend and Teigen donated $200,000 to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Their donation was made in solidarity with the USA Olympic Team and to help provide legal support and representation to survivors of sexual violence.
And in November of this year, they announced a new charitable initiative with Ronald McDonald House Charities to support the families of sick and injured children.
Throughout his career, Legend has consistently spoken out about crucial issues — from criminal justice reform to encouraging Americans to vote — and on Saturday night, he helped shine a light on activists, organizations, and leaders doing the same.
Global Citizen Prize celebrates individuals who have led with compassion, care, innovation, and dedication to uplift the world’s most vulnerable people, and this year’s extraordinary winners have been instrumental in driving progress toward the UN’s Global Goals, despite the challenges of 2020.
Here are some of our favorite quotes from Legend from throughout the night — and you can find out here how you can tune in and watch Global Citizen Prize, as it is broadcast and streamed around the world starting Dec. 19.
1. On the importance of advocacy in 2020
This year has been tough for everyone, but many inspiring people around the world worked to alleviate injustice and inequity. Legend opened the Global Citizen Prize award ceremony, saying:
These are inspiring activists who have gone above and beyond to make the world a better place. And in 2020, boy, did we need their help.
2. On the 2020 award winners
Leading the introductions to this year's remarkable award winners, Legend described the scope of their impact:
This year's prize winners are doing everything they can to give vulnerable people around the world an opportunity to live a safe, fair, and just life.
3. On making the world a better place
Introducing the winner of Global Citizen’s Prize for Business Leader, LifeBank founder Temie Giwa-Tubosun, who "turned a moment of personal crisis into a business that is saving lives," Legend said:
A future where everyone has the same opportunities will take courage, commitment, and innovation.
4. On being a hero
The Global Citizen Prize award ceremony included a segment dedicated to honoring those heroes who have stepped up all around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting their own lives on the line to help others.
We cannot forget that their fight is not over. These extraordinary people are facing their biggest battles now and in the weeks ahead.
5. On supporting children and education
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most significant disruption to global education in recent history.
But Sesame Workshop, the winner of the Global Citizen Prize for Culture & Education, has adapted this year to provide virtual educational resources to the children who need it most, in a way that helps them understand the challenges going on around them.
They created caring for each other, a global initiative harnessing the power of media to bring important health messages, playful learning, kid-friendly coping strategies, and smiles to families across the US and around the world.
6. On racial justice
Legend and Global Citizen Ambassador Common performed their song “Glory," which also featured appearances from Black Lives Matter co-founders Alica Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — recognized by the Global Citizen Prize for Activism.
It all started as a proclamation, that in the midst of the injustice, senseless violence, and shootings, 'Black Lives Matter.'
7. On honoring essential workers
Legend also took time to acknowledge and thank those who have been working on the front lines throughout the pandemic.
In the past year, heroes have emerged, like health care workers who have risked their lives to fight on the front lines, patient after patient, doing what they can to ease their pain and calm their fears.
8. On appreciating everyday changemakers
Global Citizen Prize exists to highlight the extraordinary individuals and organizations around the world dedicated to uplifting others and driving positive change.
But, given that there are just so many remarkable, inspirational people around the world, we can never honor every single person who deserves recognition. Legend spoke about the importance of recognizing and thanking all those who have led with compassion and strength this year, wherever they are.
We honor them and all the heroes who show us courage and conviction every day.
Join Global Citizen in December 2020 to celebrate the leaders among us who have stepped up against a backdrop of unprecedented global challenges to take action for the world we want — a world that is fair, just, and equal.
The broadcast and digitally streamed award ceremony will also feature inspirational stories of human strength and unforgettable performances that will bring together artists, activists, and global leaders to remind each of us that, together, we will come out of this year stronger. Find out more about the Global Citizen Prize and how to watch here.