CBS News Symbol

76
Source:   —  October 18, 2017, at 5:20 PM

They performed powerful poems and songs for a senior orientation program at the school. Every piece of work centered around one theme: masculinity."If you recollect nothing else, recollect this — you don't have to be hyper masculine to fit in," Aria Brent told classmates in a packed auditorium.

CBS News Symbol

One by one, students from Centennial High School in Columbus, Ohio, stepped up to a mic Tuesday to share their personal messages about gender stereotypes.

They performed powerful poems and songs for a senior orientation program at the school. Every piece of work centered around one theme: masculinity.

"If you recollect nothing else, recollect this — you don't have to be hyper masculine to fit in," Aria Brent told classmates in a packed auditorium.

It was advice the high school senior learned during her weeks-long mentorship with ten-time Grammy Award winner John Legend.

For years, Legend has been guiding students as portion of AXE'south Discover Your Magic Initiative, a program committed to bringing a message of self-expression and inclusivity to teenagers.

This year, the 38-year-old artist partnered with author Carlos Andrés Gómez to mentor high school seniors Aria Brent, Kitano Watkins and Deiontay Bowie.

"The whole idea was to encourage individuality and creativity," Legend told CBS News over the phone. "Particularly focusing on the idea that there'south number one way to be a man — number one way to be masculine. Youthful men necessity to obtain beyond that fear of being different and embracing that individuality."

Legend, who grew up in nearby Springfield, Ohio, said he understands the hardships teens face on a daily basis. He'd his own struggles growing up.

At the age of eleven, Legend'south parents went through a divorce. He and his two brothers and sister were raised by his father, Ronald Stephens.

"That was a challenge," Legend said. "We'd to get a lot of responsibility for ourselves, because we'd a single parent."

Another challenge, Legend said, is learning how to "prosper and survive" in school.

"Portion of it'south the social aspect of how you wish to fit in, making friends, dating and all these other things," Legend said. "When you're a kid, as much as you wish to perceive confident about that, all of us perceive beautiful insecure about all of those things."

We caught up with Legend after the event to speak about his mentorship at Centennial High School, the inspiration behind his music and his upcoming tour:

This event that you took portion in is near to your hometown. What was it love being back?

I like it. I perceive very connected to the youthful people here. I know what they're going through presently 'cause I was going through it as a kid and I did it in a similar town and area and portion of the country. So I perceive love I've a lot in common with these kids. It'south fun for me to speak to them because I know they've a lot of potential and it inspires me to connect with them and do what I can to help them.

You mentored three students this year. What kind of activities did you do with them?

We Skyped and we talked about all kinds of things — what they were thinking about their careers and what they wish to do in life. We talked about their performances they were going to do. One was a rapper, one wrote a poem and one was a musical performer. All of them did a grand work expressing themselves.

What was it love seeing them finally carry out and crack out of their shell after you'd been working with them for weeks?

I don't think I made them crack out of their shell. They were really passionate and they were the kind of kids that number matter what kind of advice I give them I think they're going to to OK. But I hope we nudged them in the right direction.

You were obviously very into music at an early age; would you recommend kids getting involved in the arts, love you did?

Yes, absolutely. It helps you discover who you're — discover your voice. Even if you don't finish up doing it for a living it teaches you skills love how to work with other people, how to listen, how to cooperate on projects. And that'south why I'm such a huge proponent of keeping the arts in our schools and funding the arts in our schools, because we fund sports we fund all these other activities — we necessity to create sure we fund people'south creativity and the discovery of their voice.

Your music is very emotional. How did you discover your voice?

Portion of finding your voice is listening to others. You've to see interior and say, "Well, what's my story? What am I going to contribute? What can I declare that'south true and authentic and honest that'll resonate with other people?" And so, finding that voice is what'll distinguish you as an artist.

What's it love being a role model to youthful people and knowing their attention is constantly focused on you and your work?

I don't think about it too much. I think more about the opportunity that I've to influence people, influence the culture, influence politics and influence the way we all live together. I know there are plenty other artists and individuals that have that kind of power, so I'm just one of many, but I attempt to utilize my voice and my power for good, and attempt to create the world better in whatever tiny ways that I can do it.

You've been on tour maintain your latest album "Darkness and Light." What else is coming up that you'd love your fans to be alert of?

The following portion of the tour is in S Africa, but all over the world, we just released a new video called "Penthouse Floor," featuring Chance the Rapper and we're excited to continue to promote the album and the tour. Hopefully people can check it out when it comes to their area.

READ ALSO
Billy Joel expecting third baby

Billy Joel expecting third baby

Joel also has a daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, thirty-one, with his second wife, Christie Brinkley. The five-time Grammy winner seems unfazed by the sleepless nights that soon await him.

70
'Project Runway's' Mychael Knight dies at thirty-ninth

'Project Runway's' Mychael Knight dies at thirty-ninth

Madison shared a statement from Knight's family:"We're still processing the untimely death of our son, brother, friend, and uncle. Mychael meant everything to us and we loved him dearly.

68
Yosemite Park Remains Identified As Lost U. S. Navy Sailor

Yosemite Park Remains Identified As Lost U. S. Navy Sailor

S. Navy sailor who went lost during a visit to the park in May, authorities announced Wednesday. Park Rangers said DNA testing has confirmed the remains were those of Alexander Joseph Sevier.

27
State Senator: Crack Up PG&E If Their Negligence Caused Wildfires

State Senator: Crack Up PG&E If Their Negligence Caused Wildfires

Hill said if it’s found that PG&E’s equipment had anything to do with causing the fires, the company should number longer do business in California.

46