07-02-2022  3:34 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Eugene Woman Attacked With Acid for Third Time Since March

A Eugene, Oregon, woman who had acid thrown on her while walking her dog in March has been the target of two additional acid attacks at her home

Minimum Wage Increase Initiative Qualifies in WA City

An initiative to increase the minimum hourly wage in Tukwila, Washington, by more than has qualified for the November ballot.

Sydney McLaughlin Does It Again, Breaks Own World Record

When asked how she was going to celebrated afterward, McLaughlin joked: “Eating some real food besides vegetables. Like a cheeseburger or something, some pancakes.”

Inslee Seeks Abortion Rights Amendment to State Constitution

Gov. Jay Inslee will push for a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights within the state, and laws that make it difficult for other states to investigate whether their own residents have visited Washington for abortion care.

NEWS BRIEFS

On View This Weekend: Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt

A History Spotlight from Boyle Family Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk ...

State Continues Paying Out Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program Applications to Renters and Landlords Across Oregon

More than 60,000 Oregon households facing pandemic hardship receive over 6 million in rental assistance relief ...

KGW and TEGNA Foundation Award $40k in Community Grants to Aid Four Oregon Nonprofit Organizations

Among the grant recipients are Urban Nature Partners PDX, Self Enhancement, Inc (SEI), Portland YouthBuilders (PYB), and p:ear. ...

Hawthorne, Morrison Bridges Will Close to Motorized Vehicles for July 4 Fireworks Show

The bridges will remain open for bicyclists and pedestrians. ...

Increased Emergency Snap Benefits Continue in July

Approximately 422,000 households will receive an estimated million in extra food benefits ...

Judge: Sheriff must post bail after anti-harassment order

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The sheriff of Pierce County, Washington, was ordered to post 0,000 bail while he awaits trial on false-reporting charges related to his controversial confrontation last year with a Black newspaper carrier. Judge Jeffrey Jahns on Friday imposed the bail —...

Monkeypox: 2 more presumptive cases reported in Oregon

Lane County, Oregon, has reported two presumed monkeypox cases after testing from the state public health lab - the second and third presumptive cases reported in Oregon. Jason Davis, a spokesperson for Lane County Public Health, said an epidemiological link between the first and...

OPINION

Choice Without Shackles

The constitutional originalists do what they must to keep ignorance viable, to keep us anchored to the certainties of the old days ...

Biden’s Menthol Ban Follows the ‘Racist Law’ Playbook

The ban on menthol threatens to do more harm than good for the Black people these activists purport to want to protect ...

Black Women Will Suffer the Harshest Consequences After the Overturn of Roe

Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women and are more likely to face maternal health issues. ...

Justice Clarence Thomas and the Conservative Supreme Court Have Fanned the Flames of Racism in America

Former President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again cry proved an easy between-the-lines moniker, but even that stood as a dog whistle – until now. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

NY overhauls handgun rules in effort to preserve some limits

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers approved a sweeping overhaul Friday of the state’s handgun licensing rules, seeking to preserve some limits on firearms after the Supreme Court ruled that most people have a right to carry a handgun for personal protection. The measure,...

Judge: Arizona violates prisoners’ rights with poor care

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge ruled Arizona has been violating the constitutional rights of incarcerated people in state-run prisons by providing them with inadequate medical and mental health care, saying the state has known about the problem for years but refused to correct its failures. ...

Thousands protest migrant deaths at Spain-Morocco border

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Thousands of people in several Spanish cities protested Friday over the deaths of at least 23 migrants last week at the frontier between the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Africa and Morocco, amid growing calls for an independent, cross-border investigation. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Sonny Barger, figurehead of Hells Angels, dies at 83

LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) — Sonny Barger, the leather-clad fixture of 1960s counterculture and figurehead of the Hells Angels motorcycle club who was at the notorious Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway, has died. He was 83. Barger's death was announced on his Facebook page...

Review: Austen-era schemes, dreams fill 'Mr. Malcolm's List'

“It is a truth universally acknowledged,” goes one of the more famous opening lines in English literature, “that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” That’s Jane Austen, beginning her 1813 “Pride and Prejudice.” Austen herself has...

Review: Imagine Dragons offer light at the end of the tunnel

“Mercury — Act 2,” Imagine Dragons (Interscope) If you were hiding under your bed after listening to the last album by Imagine Dragons, it's time to come out. The second volume of “Mercury” is upbeat, often Caribbean-spiced and throbbing. It's the sound of a band getting its...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Day 2 of free agency: LaVine, Nurkic decide to stay put

Zach LaVine is staying in Chicago. Same goes for Jusuf Nurkic in Portland. Day 2 of NBA free agency...

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are...

Amazon bars off-duty warehouse workers from its buildings

Amazon is barring off-duty warehouse workers from the company’s facilities, a move organizers say can hamper...

International Criminal Court marks 20th anniversary

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The International Criminal Court marked the 20th anniversary of its establishment...

Germany wants ads, influencers to note use of beauty filters

BERLIN (AP) — German state officials said Friday that they want advertisers and social media influencers to...

Inflation hits record 8.6% for 19 countries using the euro

LONDON (AP) — Inflation in countries using the euro set another eye-watering record, pushed higher by a huge...

John Legend and Ryan Gosling
By Kam Williams | The Skanner News

Ohio-born John Legend is an award-winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter. His work has garnered him ten Grammy Awards, an Oscar and a Golden Globe, among others. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied English and African American literature, John participated in a wide range of musical activities while in college.

During that period, he was introduced to Lauryn Hill, who hired him to play piano on her track "Everything Is Everything." Shortly thereafter, he began to play shows around the Philadelphia area, eventually expanding his audience base to New York, Boston, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

After college, he was introduced to an up-and-coming hip hop artist named Kanye West. Kanye quickly signed John to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint and had him sing vocal hooks on some of his tunes.

John's career started gaining momentum through a series of similar collaborations with established artists. He added vocals to an impressive list of chart-topping hits including Kanye's "All of the Lights," Jay-Z's "Encore" and backup vocals on Alicia Keys' 2003 song, "You Don't Know My Name."

John’s debut album, Get Lifted, was released to critical acclaim in December of 2004 by Columbia Records. The album landed multiple Grammys, including Best R&B Album, Best New Artist and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. And earlier this year, John won his first Academy Award for “Glory,” a song he wrote and performed with Common for the film Selma.

Throughout his career, John has worked to make a difference in the lives of others. In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign (ShowMeCampaign.org), an initiative that focuses on education as a key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

He's received the 2010 BET Humanitarian of the Year Award, the 2009 CARE

Humanitarian Award for Global Change, the 2009 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award from Africare, and the 2011 Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year Award. Furthermore, John sits on the boards of The Education Equality Project, Teach for America, Stand for Children and the Harlem Village Academies.

Here, he shares his thoughts about playing his first, major movie role opposite Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land, a picture which he also executive produced. And he talks about his philanthropic work and his new album, Darkness and Light, too.

Kam Williams: Hi John. Thanks so much for the time.

John Legend: My pleasure, Kam.

KW: I've tried to land an interview with you for years, so I'm honored to finally have this opportunity to speak with you.

JL: I'm excited, too.

KW: Let me start by asking what made you decide to do this film with Damien [writer/director Damien Chazelle]?

JL: Well, it really started with meeting him as a filmmaker in my capacity as a producer, because my company, Get Lifted Film Company, has done a few movies and a couple of television shows now. We love meeting with up-and-coming directors who are doing great things. And, obviously, upon the success of “Whiplash,” Damien was someone we'd love to collaborate with. My producing partner [Mike Jackson] suggested we connect with him very early on, after we saw a screener of “Whiplash.”

We finally got a chance to sit down and discuss something creative when he was in the process of preparing to shoot “La La Land.” The script was finished, and they were already in talks with Ryan and Emma to star in it. Damien wanted to see if we were interested in getting involved. He was originally thinking in terms of executive producing and in terms of the music for the character, Keith, and his band, The Messengers. But eventually, he asked me if I wanted to play Keith. I said, "Yeah, let's do it!" I hadn't done anything like it before. I hadn't had a major speaking role in a film before. But I guess he felt that I could pull it off, because the character had some similarities to my own background as a musician. Damien thought I could relate to the character, and I felt the same way. So, it made sense for me to do it, since I was already a fan of his work. And then, when I found out that Ryan and Emma had come aboard, it seemed like a no-brainer for us to get involved.

KW: After watching the film, I was surprised to see that you have so few acting credits, because you did a phenomenal job.

JL: Thank you! I'd spent my whole career focused on music. Acting wasn't something I was really pursuing, even though we were doing film and TV behind the camera as producers, because music takes up so much of my creative energy. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with such great people.

KW: After Damien released his first movie, “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,” I wrote: "Appreciate Damien Chazelle now and avoid the rush!"

JL: Yeah, he's brilliant! You can tell, just by virtue of the fact that he made “Whiplash” and “La La Land” before turning 32. That's not even fair. [Chuckles]

KW: What did you think of Justin Hurwitz's score for “La La Land”? Did he compose the songs you played in the movie?

JL: We wrote those together. He, Marius [de Vries], Angelique [Cinelu] and I. The four of us just sat in a room and played, and figured it out. Justin, obviously, was the composer for the rest of the film, and he's wonderful. But since I always feel comfortable singing, that particular song ["Start a Fire"] worked, and made sense for the character I was playing. Yet, it posed an interesting challenge, because you wanted the song to be good and represent a viable creative path, but you also wanted it to be a song Ryan's character, Sebastian, wouldn't want to play, given the storyline. So, it called for an interesting balance of making it a good, jazz-influenced tune you could hear on the radio while also making it something that represented too much of a departure for Sebastian.

KW: Early in your career, were you a musical purist like Sebastian, who had a reverence for the classics?

JL: No, I never looked at myself as a purist in the sense of simply wanting to recreate old music that I'd grown up listening to. I never struggled with that conundrum. But I think every artist is influenced by certain traditions and the artists they grew up listening to. For Taylor Swift, it was country music. For me, it was gospel and soul. Other artists grew up listening to folk, classic rock or whatever else it was for them. But no matter what your early influences are, you have to decide how much you're just recreating the feelings those artists gave you, recreating their styles, or doing something fresh and new that's influenced by them. I think we all deal with that. There's always the push and pull in our careers of how much we go traditional and how much we try to change it up and do something new.

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: Like many people, I think that you are a great artist and I consider you like the young Stevie Wonder. I saw you in Montreal when you opened for Alicia Keys on one of her tours. Given that your new film is about jazz, please name a few of your favorite jazz musicians.

JL: Honestly, I don't consider myself much of a jazz aficionado. When I was growing up, my dad used to play a lot of vocalists like Billie Holiday, Ella [Fitzgerald], Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and Nat King Cole. So, I grew up loving some of the great standards singers and jazz vocalists. Also Nina Simone, who cut across a few different genres. Those are a few of my bigger influences, but i wouldn't say I was much of a jazz expert.

KW: Patricia also notes that you consider yourself a feminist. She would like to know why men should feel as concerned as women about female issues and how men can advance women's causes?

JL: First of all, because it’s the right thing to do. It's fair. You have women in your family, women you work with and women who are your friends. Why shouldn't they have the same possibilities and opportunities as you? Why shouldn't they live in a world where they are valued for what they contribute, and valued as much as men are for the same thing? Who wouldn't want to live in that world? It doesn't hurt men for women to do well, because it just makes the planet a better place. There's more innovation, more creativity and more productivity in the world. All of our lives are improved when women have power, influence and opportunity.

KW: I'd like to congratulate you on your new album, “Darkness and Light,” which I've been listening to. It's terrific!

JL: Thank you. I'm really proud of it. It's funny being in “La La Land” mode today, since I've been in Darkness and Light mode for the past month, and I'll be back into it for the next year or so. It's exciting to support this really beautiful film and to have a new album out at the same time.

KW: I've always been impressed by your incredible commitment to charity work. What has inspired you to do that?

JL: I've always thought that if I were successful in this career, I would have a lot of resources and a lot of influence, and that I would would want to use them to make the world a better place. Part of my making the world better involves creating great art, and part involves my being an activist and contributing directly to causes that improve people's lives with my time, my money and my influence. I think that's part of who I am and of who I always will be.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

JL: What’s in my wallet? [Laughs] Credit cards... insurance cards... membership cards... I got my Academy membership renewed this year.

KW: Congratulations on the Best Song Oscar for "Glory" last year. And it looks like you'll be back in contention, since it looks like “La La Land” is going to be nominated for a lot of Academy Awards.

JL: Well, I don't know whether I'll personally be nominated, but I'm going to be rooting for the whole team. We have some wonderful contenders in a wide range of categories.

KW: Well, thanks again, John, and best of luck with both “La La Land” and “Darkness and Light.”

JL: Thank you very much, Kam.

To see a trailer for La La Land, click here.

To order a copy of John's new CD, Darkness and Light, click here

Jan. 6 Committe Hearings - Day 6

A suprise hearing with newly discovered evidence will be held Tuesday, June 28 at 9:45 a.m. PT (12:45 p.m. ET).

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events