John Legend praises Charly Palmer for 'soulful' album cover artwork

'Bigger Love' is the uplifting musical mood we all need right now.
June 23, 2020 10:00 a.m. EST
June 23, 2020 10:00 a.m. EST
With the global pandemic still preventing large groups from gathering to attend concerts and anti-Black racism rallies dominating the global consciousness, it's undeniably a strange time to release an album, but for John Legend, it's a good opportunity to not only give people a respite from the turmoil, but to also lift up other Black artists.“The world's going through a lot, with the pandemic and what we're going through here in the States around policing and the criminal justice system,” he told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show (weeknights, 11:35ET on CTV2). “People were like, ‘Would you want to hold on to the record and wait until things calm down?’ I was like, ‘You know what? If there was anything I would want to put out right now, this is it,’ because I felt like people need some love in their lives. People need to feel good. Particularly at the beginning of the summer, I felt like this was the right thing for people to hear. So I said let's put it out.”
And the album, Bigger Love, features the artwork of Charly Palmer, someone who John couldn’t help but gush about. He had previously announced the album cover and the artist on Twitter where he called Palmer’s fine artwork “brilliant.” Palmer responded to Legend's praise on Instagram writing, "Black Man sitting on the moon right now. Is all this really happening?"“He just did some beautiful stuff,” John explained via video-chat. “We wanted it to look soulful and colourful, and we wanted to feel good for summer. Like, we just wanted that vibe because I felt like the music really fit that energy.”Palmer is originally from Alabama and grew up in Milwaukee, though he now teaches art at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where he also works on his own craft. His most notable works (some of which are under his artistic alter ego, Carlos) are the 1996 Atlanta Olympics poster, his "Civil Rights Series" and famous portraits like ones of Kobe Bryant, Colin Kaepernick, Muhammad Ali and James Baldwin. Palmer was also the recipient of the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award and has illustrated two children's books.
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That soulful vibe on John Legend's Bigger Love definitely finds its roots in the singer’s home life, which he also spoke about with Jimmy. Everyone knows Chrissy Teigen is the reigning queen on Twitter on top of being #WifeGoals, but John let it slip that she also loves her romantic surprises.“Chrissy surprised me [for Father's Day],” John revealed. “She set up a dinner date on our deck and somehow I was able to not see it the whole time while they were setting it up, and it was a true surprise. I thought we were just going to go in the backyard and take some photos and go out to somewhere else. But she set it all up in our backyard, and it was a really lovely dinner date. And they made me feel like a king on Father's Day.”[video_embed id='1982314']RELATED: See the adorable new pic and video of Drake's son Adonis on Father's Day [/video_embed]After gushing about his kids Luna and Miles (who’ve seen every episode of Scooby Doo and know all the lyrics to Frozen 2), John switched topics to speak about the way Black people are disproportionately incarcerated in the U.S., and how he loves to see the change we’re experiencing in this moment.“When Common and I wrote that song ‘Glory’ for Selma,” he explained, “and I stood up on the stage when we got an Oscar for it, I said, ‘America's the most incarcerated country in the world.’ And this issue is particularly affecting the Black and brown communities of this country and we need to change that. And so I organized my team around figuring out how we could add to the conversation, bring light to the activists and organizers who have been working on it for a long time, and we have set about doing that. We founded Free America back then.”He continued, “The fact that we use police and jails and prisons to solve far too many social issues that could be solved in other ways. That's something a lot of people are looking at now, and I think it's important that we do that [ . . . .] And hopefully we can, you know, in this moment, seize that momentum and really make serious change and hold our leaders accountable for serious change.”Free America is a campaign to transform America’s criminal justice system at local, state and national levels by highlighting human stories, supporting innovation projects, encouraging productive policy change and to amplify the conversation about mass incarceration.Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon weeknights at 11:35ET on CTV2.[video_embed id='1982063']BEFORE YOU GO: The first trailer for ‘Hamilton’ is here [/video_embed]

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