John Legend has revealed his song ‘Penthouse Floor’ – from his new album ‘Darkness and Light’ – is inspired by the Black Lives Matter activist campaign.
John Legend was inspired by the Black Lives Matter campaign to write the song’ Penthouse Floor’ for his new album ‘Darkness and Light’.
The 37-year-old musician co-wrote the track with Greg Kurstin – famous for penning Adele’s ‘Hello’ – and it also features Chance the Rapper.
Legend’s initial plan for the song was for it to be about escapism but then the lyrics began to talk about the struggle of his fellow African/Americans to escape poverty and disadvantage due to the news reports he was watching about the shootings of young black men at the hands of police officers and the perceived institutional racism that exists in the US, events which led the creation of the Black Lives Matter activist group.
Speaking to BANG Showbiz, Legend shared: “‘Penthouse Floor’ as a song had an interesting journey. I wrote it with Greg Kurstin – who wrote one of the biggest songs of last year which was ‘Hello’ – and Greg and I just sat in a room at his house and I just started playing that groove and the lyrics came.
“The concept behind the song evolved, at first it was just about escapism and having a good time but then I decided to make it more specifically political, although you have to listen very closely to the lyrics to know that it is political. So it ended up taking about escapism but also became more of a tale about what you are trying to escape from or ascend from. So it became a bit more political and I was thinking about what was happening on the streets of America, the protesters and how all of those neighbourhoods were ignored until something blew up and then seeing the streets pile up with TV crews and they get on the news but nobody noticed them before this. A lot of those neighbourhoods get neglected and ignored and a lot of those people in those communities are there because they’ve been victims of housing segregation and they want to ascend and get to a higher place, and realise their dreams. So that’s what the songs really about.”
Despite the problems the African/American community has suffered this year, Legend does believe that US society has taken great strides forward in terms of equality in recent years and things will continue to improve, even in light of the political changes about to happen.
President Barack Obama – who became America’s first black leader in 2009 – will soon depart the White House to be replaced by controversial 2016 election winner Donald Trump.
‘Love Me Now’ singer Legend – who is married to Chrissy Teigen, with whom he has a baby daughter, Luna – added: “There’s a power structure that’s in place that has ignored certain communities and put policies in place that have ignored certain communities, they’ve created a system that benefits them but this song is saying that ‘they’ can’t keep us out no more.”