John Legend Said He and Kanye Aren't the 'Closest of Friends,' but Wants Us to Save Room for His Clarification

John Legend speaks onstage during ‘Legend Has It: Activism and Influence in the Age of Trump’ at Vanity Fair’s 6th Annual New Establishment Summit on October 22, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images for Vanity Fair)


John Legend gets why his recent comments about his not-so-close friendship with Kanye West have become “a thing,” but he wants us all to take it slow because he has some clarifying to do.

Legend, who has been publicly critical about West’s MAGA propaganda and loyalty to Trump, told Vanity Fair in a recent cover story, “I think what was always challenging about it was Kanye has never been political. I don’t think he knows one way or another what policies of Trump’s he likes. He just kind of embraced Trump’s blow-it-all-up spirit and the energy of himself being counter-cultural in supporting him.”

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But, it was another particular quote that made the rounds on social media.

“I’m not trying to disown Kanye because I still love him and love everything we’ve done together creatively,” Legend said. “But we were never the closest of friends.”

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As soon as the tweet went out, the quote birthed a series of memes, including Keke Palmer’s “Sorry to this man.”

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Others basically hit Legend with the “hashtag this nigga lying your honor” in the vein of Tyler The Creator’s Loiter Squad sketch. The narrative that Legend and Kanye weren’t close was debunked, as they were at least close enough for he and wife Chrissy Teigen to be invited to his and Kim Kardashian West’s wedding (Legend also performed at the reception) and the two Midwest-native artists do go way back (West was integral to Legend landing his first major record deal).

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As it turns out, Legend wasn’t necessarily trying to hop aboard the Anti-Kanye Bandwagon Express train, and according to the “All of Me” singer, this whole kerfuffle was a classic case of his words being taken out of context.

Legend took to the very platform where things went viral and revealed where the subject of their friendship came up, noting, “I was explaining to the reporter how I’ve seen people I love reacting to the deaths of their mothers. I was thinking specifically of my own mom, Chrissy’s mom and others.”

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“I told her I wasn’t really in a position to say because while Kanye [and I] have a long friendship and have made a lot of great music, we weren’t close on the level of confiding in each other about grief,” he continued.

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And there you have it. It’s levels to this (friendship) shit.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.