John Legend is an American singer, songwriter, producer and actor who has achieved immense success and recognition over the past two decades. With hit songs like “All of Me” and “Ordinary People”, 10 Grammy Awards, an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy, John Legend seems to have it all.
However, despite his accomplishments, John Legend has faced quite a bit of backlash and hate from some people over the years. In this article, we’ll explore some of the potential reasons why John Legend rubs some people the wrong way.
Criticism of His Music
One of the most common criticisms of John Legend is related to his music. Here are some of the key reasons people dislike his musical style and songs:
Perceived Lack of Originality
Some critics argue that John Legend’s music lacks originality and is uninspiring. They believe his songwriting relies too heavily on mimicking existing musical styles like old-school R&B rather than innovating something fresh.
“Boring” and “Safe” Image
John Legend has been labeled by some as having a “boring” public persona. Detractors feel his music plays it safe by evoking familiar R&B tropes and that Legend seems reluctant to take risks or push boundaries with his work.
Over-popularity of “All of Me”
While commercially successful, John Legend’s sappiest and most romantic ballad, “All of Me”, irritated some listeners by becoming inescapable and overplayed on radio stations and commercials.
Perceived Lack of Cool Factor
Some believe John Legend lacks the edginier or “cooler” factor of his contemporaries in R&B and hip hop. His polished image and schmaltzy love songs are viewed by some as corny rather than cutting-edge.
Too Focused on Love
There is a contingent of critics who feel John Legend focuses too narrowly on love and relationships in his music at the expense of addressing more substantive sociopolitical issues in his lyrics. They see his catalog as lacking diversity in subject matter.
Backlash Against His Politics
Another source of negativity towards John Legend stems from disagreement with his outspoken liberal political stances. Legend has been an avid supporter of Democratic Party causes and candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here are some of the controversies related to his political involvement:
Criticism of Donald Trump
John Legend has been highly critical of former President Donald Trump on social media and in interviews. This has predictably invited backlash from Trump supporters who feel Legend should avoid partisan politics as an entertainer.
Twitter Feuds with Conservatives
Legend has gotten into heated Twitter debates with right-wing figures over issues like abortion rights, systemic racism, and immigrant detention. These feuds fuel resentment from some conservatives.
Campaigning for Democrats
By performing at events like the Democratic National Convention and publicly endorsing candidates like Hillary Clinton, John Legend is seen by some critics as a partisan celebrity exceedingly willing to leverage his platform for a liberal agenda.
Slot at 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show
When Legend was given a featured slot at the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, some football fans argued the choice was motivated by the NFL’s desire to score political points by highlighting Legend’s progressive stances rather than picking high-wattage pop stars.
Perceptions He’s Overrated or Over-rewarded
There is also a contingent of critics who feel John Legend is overrated as a musician and perhaps even undeserving of the outsized acclaim he has received. Some argue:
Too Many Awards
With 10 Grammy awards and an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) under his belt, some believe John Legend has been excessively or prematurely rewarded compared to other artists. There is a sense his accolades outstrip his talents.
Unworthy of EGOT Status
In particular, attaining the ultra-rare EGOT status cemented a perception among skeptics that Legend is an overhyped mediocrity coasting primarily on mainstream appeal. They feel he hasn’t earned a spot alongside legends like Audrey Hepburn.
Some music aficionados argue Legend is an average talent benefiting from hollow critical acclaim and commercial success primarily due to his inoffensive sound and look. Essentially, they see him as a pedestrian singer propelled by marketing more than a standout voice.
Lacks Individual Artistic Vision
Critics argue Legend lacks a unique artistic vision of his own, too often leaning on his songwriting partners and other collaborators to shape his bland mush into something palatable. He is not seen as a guiding creative force.
Controversies and PR Missteps
John Legend has faced some controversies and PR headaches that also likely fueled some backlash against him:
Tabloids have played up rumors that Legend cheated on wife Chrissy Teigen early in their relationship. Though unproven, these scurrilous stories damaged Legend’s “perfect husband” image.
“Bye Felicia” Viral Moment
Legend said “Bye Felicia” mockingly to a woman who questioned his criticism of Trump on Twitter. Many saw it as a condescending gesture out-of-step with his nice-guy persona.
Kanye West Falling Out
Legend’s unexplained falling out with his longtime collaborator and friend Kanye West raised questions for some fans who enjoyed their creative partnership.
#MeToo Comments About R. Kelly
After the airing of Surviving R. Kelly, Legend’s self-congratulation for not collaborating with R. Kelly due to longstanding abuse allegations struck some as opportunistic.
Chrissy Teigen Cyberbullying Scandal
Legend standing by wife Chrissy Teigen despite her history of online bullying and harassment of other celebrities like Courtney Stodden led some to see him as complicit or hypocritical.
FAQs About People Hating John Legend
Why do some people think John Legend’s music is boring?
Some critics argue Legend’s music relies too heavily on conventional R&B song structures and stylistic tropes. They feel he plays it safe musically without innovating or taking risks.
What political views have John Legend expressed that bother conservatives?
Legend has been an outspoken supporter of liberal policies and Democratic candidates. He’s come under fire from conservatives for criticizing Donald Trump and advocating for abortion rights, immigration reform, and racial justice.
What major awards has John Legend received that cause a backlash?
With 10 Grammys and coveted EGOT status, some argue Legend is overrated and has been prematurely showered with accolades compared to other artists of similar or greater talents.
How has John Legend’s association with wife Chrissy Teigen fueled negativity?
From cheating rumors early on to Teigen’s recent cyberbullying scandal, Legend standing by his wife in controversies has damaged his nice-guy image in the eyes of some critics.
Why do people think John Legend lacks his own creative vision?
Some argue Legend leans too heavily on his collaborators and songwriters to shape his musical direction rather than spearheading his own innovative artistic vision.
In summary, while beloved by many, John Legend has drawn criticism throughout his career for perceived shortcomings in his music, political outspokenness, over-rewarding by the mainstream establishment, and association with certain controversies. However, despite the naysayers, Legend remains one of the most successful and acclaimed modern artists across multiple genres.
His admirers continue to outnumber detractors by a significant margin. The fiery negativity towards John Legend appears unlikely to severely dent his soaring career trajectory anytime soon. Legend has firmly cemented his place among contemporary music greats, even if he is not immune from the barbs of critics.