Leave it to John Legend to tackle current events with class, grace, and humanity. His video for Penthouse Floor (featuring Chance the Rapper, although Chance doesn’t appear in the video) manages to do it all. Featuring Legend as an employee at a high-end hotel while a Black Lives Matter protest happens outside, his video goes for it, deciding to tackle social mobility, racial tensions, and, of course, Donald Trump.
“With the chorus of going to the penthouse floor, we were thinking about upward mobility, and thinking about escape,” he told Complex. “The more I sat with the song as I was making the record, I wanted to have more attention in the song where I was thinking about not just upward mobility and escaping, but also thinking about what it means to come from humble beginnings like I come from, a blue collar family, where people that are often ignored and forgotten about, and to elevate to more rarified air like I am now but to not forget about where you come from.”
And, as always, John Legend manages to pull it off with style— even though he’s tackling huge, divisive, visceral issues. You can see the whole video here:
The situation in the US shows no signs of getting better. If anything, the racism, homophobia, and xenophobia seem to grow every day. But Legend realizes he can put his art toward something greater. “And to use your power and status to uplift people and shine a light on places where we come from,” he says. “That is what the song lyrically evolved to and that is what the video represents.” He pulls it off beautifully. With the current political climate, it’s so important that more artists channel their work towards the greater good. Legend has the right idea— and we hope that others will follow.